I recently wrote a blog for LSE Business Review, together with Roosa Kohvakka. The blog is based on our (co-authored with Maria Törnroos) article “The Institutionalised Undervaluation of Women’s Work: The Case of Local Government Sector Collective Agreements”, published 2018 in Work, Employment and Society. Read the blog below.
The institutionalised undervaluation of women’s work: what can we do about it?
Equal pay is often viewed as a fundamental marker of gender equality. As a target, it is also notoriously difficult to achieve. Despite a variety of policy measures, including equal pay legislation, adopted to promote equal pay, the gender pay gap persists around the globe. Recent equal pay disputes include the ones in private sector organisations, such as Tesco and the BBC, but also disputes in public sector organisations, such as the Birmingham and Glasgow local governments. Similar issues exist in Nordic countries, including Finland, which are otherwise known as model countries for gender equality.
We argue that one of the main contributing factors behind the gender pay gap is the undervaluation of women’s work, which has become institutionalised within the structures of labour market practices, such as collective bargaining. For equal pay, we must acknowledge the monetary value of feminised work and work done by women. Continue reading.