Dora Levačić: Feminism between paid and unpaid labour: political implications

Objavljeno: 27.11.2014

Organizacija: Centar za radničke studije (CRS) / Organized by: Centre for labour studies (
Friday, October 18th 2013, Goethe-Institut, Zagreb
Conference_Predicaments of the Left: Conjunctures, Strategies, Perspectives / Konferencija_Dileme ljevice: poteškoće, strategije, perspektive
3rd panel:
Dora Levačić, Feminism between paid and unpaid labour: political implications
Iva Marčetić, First we take the house

Moderator: Marko Kostanić

Dora Levačić, Feminism between paid and unpaid labour: political implications

Women's entrance into the labour market has not brought any substantial change regarding the fundamental issues of sexual division of labour and women's economic subordination. Women are mostly present in less paid sectors of the economy and at lower positions within their hierarchical structure. Depending on the geopolitical context, women are also overrepresented in part-time jobs and fixed-time contracts.

Mainstream feminism has not offered a comprehensive analysis of women's economic position, but has placed focus on phenomena such as "the glass ceiling" or the gender wage gap, treating them as results of men's discrimination of women. Consequently, the issue of gender inequality has been separated from the analysis of capitalism and has opened itself towards the influence of neoclassical economics and its legitimisation of gender inequality by considering it as an outcome of individual free choice. Treating "work-life balance" as an exclusively women's issue creates economic policies which continue the sexual division of labour in households as well as in the labour market.

This talk will try to explain the causes of the absence of a systemic feminist analysis of these issues and will provide a critique of the exclusive focus placed on (paid) work as a way towards women's emancipation. By pointing out the inability of connecting unpaid and paid work as the key deficiency of studying gender inequality, the talk will give an overview of theoretical practices which can be helpful in its understanding. Also, in terms of much needed social mediation and political articulation of these theoretical practices the problem of feminism often being neglected by leftist political agendas will be addressed.

Dora Levačić (1989) is a student of sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. She is a member of the editorial board of the magazine Diskrepancija and is a member of Organisation for Workers' Initiative and Democratisation. She has published articles on feminism, unpaid household labour and the gender wage gap.