What is it about?

We use the case of ‘non-academic’ workers in Scottish higher education institutions as the context in which to explore how gendered and positional processes may be perpetuating occupational gender segregation—focusing on finance, registry, security and cleaning staff. We reveal that some gendered processes are position-sensitive and that stereotyped language use and related biases impact the progression and treatment of workers at the ‘bottom’—and the compounding effects on women.

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Why is it important?

There is a lack of empirical evidence on how occupational gender segregation and efforts to address it are playing out in the context of neo-liberal reforms, especially in the public sector. Providing these missing empirics, our qualitative research examines occupational gender segregation within higher education institutions (HEIs). Our focus on the public sector is interesting because it sits at the intersection of competing pressures to: reduce costs (neo-liberal/austerity agenda); to support equality, accessibility and rights; and to act as a role model employer. HEIs are an interesting case because they are quasi-public sector organisations i.e. not formally public sector, but consuming significant public funds and increasingly infused with market ideologies. HEIs also face mounting pressure to tackle occupational gender segregation. We focus on the often ‘invisible’ and under-researched ‘non-academic’ workforce to provide a timely, and much needed, fine-grained analysis of occupational gender segregation.

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This page is a summary of: Bringing positional processes back in: occupational gender segregation in ‘non-academic’ work, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, November 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2019.1686648.
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