chapter  8
21 Pages

‘Race’ and ‘Culture’ in the Gendering of Labour Markets: South Asian Young Muslim Women and the Labour Market

Feminist critiques of gender-blind approaches to the study of labour markets have demonstrated that gender relations do not simply articulate with labour markets, but, rather, are part of the very fabric of labour markets as they have developed. That is, gender is a constitutive element in the formation of labour markets. Studies show that gender underpins such aspects as the definition of skill, the construction of the division between full-time and part-time work, the differential between men’s and women’s wages, segregation of the labour market into ‘men’s jobs’ and ‘women’s jobs’, the nature and type of hierarchies sustained by cultures of the workplace, and the experience of paid work in the formation of identities (see Beechey, 1988, for an overview). Much less attention has been paid to issues associated with ‘race’, culture and ethnicity in the gendering of labour markets (but see, for instance, Westwood, 1984; Westwood and Bhachu, 1988; Phizacklea, 1990; Walby, 1990; Bhavnani, 1991). It is crucial, in my view, to conceptualize the labour market as mediated by ‘race’, class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability and sexuality.