‘Not one of the family’: Gender and precarious work in the neoliberal university

Aline Courtois, Theresa O'Keefe

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Gender inequality within the university is well documented but proposals to tackle it tend to focus on the higher ranks, ignoring how it manifests within precarious work. Based on data collected as part of a broader participatory action research project on casual academic labour in Irish higher education, the article focuses on the intersection of precarious work and gender in academia. We argue that precarious female academics are non-citizens of the academy, a status that is reproduced through exploitative gendered practices and evident in formal/legal recognition (staff status, rights and entitlements, pay and valuing of work) as well as in informal dimensions (social and decision-making power). We, therefore, conclude that any attempts to challenge gender inequality in academia must look downward, not upward, to the ranks of the precarious academics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-479
Number of pages17
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number4
Early online date29 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • academia
  • citizenship
  • gender
  • housework
  • inequality
  • precarity
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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