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Women's Work in the Pandemic Economy: The Unbearable Hazard of Hierarchy

Myfan Jordan

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Palgrave Macmillan


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This book explores two unique studies of women’s economic behaviour during Australia’s COVID-19 crisis. The first describes the care ‘frontline’ in the feminised labor sectors of healthcare and education, identifying extreme workload pressures, deteriorating conditions, and a shockingly high incidence of workplace bullying: including women targeting other women workers. The author argues workplace cultures are almost inevitable in Australia’s advanced neoliberal economy, where a patri-colonial legacy continues to devalue and under-resource women’s work.

In contrast, a second study of voluntary care provisioning taking place in ‘hyperlocal digital sharing networks’ over the same period identifies very different economic behaviours. Here, women – and occasionally men – instead engage in ‘care-full’ labors of gifting, collective provisioning, and hive mind problem-solving, that align with the gift economy models seen in degrowth theory.

This book will interest scholars in gender studies, sociology, and economics, particularly those interested in care work, the gift economy, and women’s labor.

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