How do gender logics underpin women’s work ‘choices’? Case study of women and men in part-time employment

Lily Jones


This dissertation, informed by post-structuralist feminist theory, discusses the impact of gender upon women’s occupational ‘choices’. Specifically, it argues that women’s employment ‘choices’ are not, in truth, freely made. Rather, it asserts that gender logics -through a variety of means including the breadwinner model, occupational and domestic work segregation, the treatment of women within part-time work and normative guidelines of femininity and motherhood- shape women’s work ‘choices’ to fundamentally stabilise the gender binary and thus the subordination of women. In theorising this, this dissertation concentrates on the particular experiences of women within part-time work since, worldwide, it is significantly female-dominated. However, uniquely, this dissertation also focuses on the experiences of men within this domain as investigating both sides of the co-dependent gender binary has enabled this dissertation to, primarily, shed further light on women’s work ‘choices’. To facilitate this comparative discussion, this dissertation draws upon the research method of triangulation -comprised of questionnaires, interviews and observation- alongside qualitative interview analysis and post-structural discourse analysis. Through the combination of these methods, this dissertation answers the research question by illustrating how women’s labour ‘choices’ are constructed within an inescapable web of discursive gender logics, which mutually co-constitute the suppression of women’s power and the preservation of men’s in both the private and public spheres.

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