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Precarious Professionals: Gender Relations in the Academic Profession and the Feminization of Employment Norms

Sun, August 13, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Level 5, 512H

Abstract

In this paper, I examine how the feminization of employment norms in the professions contribute to precaritizing professionals. I argue that this occurs through three dynamics in the academic profession. First, industrial specializations within the academic profession are gendered in several ways. Professional work done in fields male-dominated like engineering, show how even within professional temporary contract work there is gender-based differentiation in the way professionals are precaritized. Second, occupational tasks within the academic profession are differently valued economically and culturally. This occurs primarily through a gendering of jobs within the academic profession along the lines of work traditionally associated with women, since both unpaid service and teaching work is ‘caring’ work. Third, precarious professionals are caught between the demands of being a precarious temporary contract worker, and the expectations of being part of the academic profession, and women respond differently than men to this bind. I conclude by arguing this suggests a new framework for understanding both precarious and professional work.

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