by Asiyyah Fauzi
Feminised labour is when there is an influx of women participating in the workforce and also in jobs traditionally given to men but with more volatile working conditions. The increase in population of women participating in the workforce can be celebrated as more women are capable of being financially independent by supporting themselves and in some cases, their families as well.
However, when analysing the journals for this topic and discovering the reason behind the feminisation of labour, it can be suggested that the demand for women in the workforce is because corporations find that women are the cheaper employees to have because women are given lower wages with poor working conditions such as having irregular hours at work, so the chances for them to participate in unionisation or speaking out against their working conditions is unlikely or even when they do speak out, they may be disregarded due to the patriarchal environment of their workplace. This makes them the more desirable employee since corporations are able to minimise labour and maximise the profits of corporate entities.
Women are also often subject to sexualisation at work, be it in the office through sexual harrasment, or the expectancy that being sexualised is expected such as in jobs like waitressing. A case study in Townbank Australia had interviewed employees to analyse the working conditions of the staff and they had reported that there were no difficulties when they were hired into a job, but women staff noticed that they had difficulties in getting promoted compared to their male colleagues despite having around the same achievement or even better work ethics. Their male colleagues are promoted due to this theory of the invisible escalator where men receive occupational advantage over women, and are expected to have a higher position in comparison to women due to the common societal perception of men’s role is to be more skilled than women.
When you google the word ‘waiter’, the leading images happen to be men in very formal attire, who would appear in a very proper setting, however when the word ‘waitress’ is googled instead, the women’s uniform happen to be one that is typical at diners. The women’s appearance are often docile and being friendly, which requires emotional labour. Commercial friendliness is always part of the expectation of being a waitress due to the sexualisation that is associated with the job. In most workplaces that have an equal number of men and women, women are underpaid in comparison to men but are hidden with agendas of increasing labour in women equates to a more empowered women when in reality, they are still being marginalised and manipulated from capitalist corporates who are most likely governed by men who strive for this inequality to not change the system as they want to benefit from the misogynistic and marginalisation against women.
It may be a long reach but having a more diverse group of people in power would not only benefit women, but also people of colour who struggle different types of issues in their workplace, laws should also be regulated more often as society is constantly changing and one of the factors on why people face so much difficulty in the workforce is due to laws benefiting one group of people while leaving a few different groups of people behind.