De-invisibilising precarious women academics

Aline Courtois, Theresa O'Keefe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Universities increasingly rely on zero-hour and other forms of insecure employment (and non-employment) to carry out core teaching and research tasks. As in other sectors, the casualisation of academic work is gendered, exposing precarious workers to different, starker and less visible/challengeable forms of gender discrimination (Acker, 1990).

Precarious academics are typically excluded from official statistics and workplace-based headcounts. Their work and their presence may be invisible even to their colleagues, while their access to various academic spaces (conferences, conferrals, faculty meetings, informal gatherings, offices, staff rooms) is severely curtailed by lack of funds and/or recognition. They may work across institutions, between sectors, relocate frequently and float in an out of employment over time – forms of spatial and career mobility that further marginalise them and make invisible their struggles.

Based on our ongoing work (Courtois and O’Keefe, 2015; O’Keefe and Courtois, forthcoming), our paper discusses the many ways in which precarious women academics are invisibilised. It then focuses on the methodological and conceptual challenges in research on academic precarity and gender. Finally we make the case for an intersectional feminist approach, cognisant of the specificities of precarious trajectories across time and space, as a prerequisite to understanding the gendering of academic precarity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2019
EventGender and Education annual conference - University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Jun 201927 Jul 2019


ConferenceGender and Education annual conference
Abbreviated titleGEA
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'De-invisibilising precarious women academics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this