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Child’s play? Skills, regulation and reward amongst ‘early years’ workers

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  • Jeanette Findlay

Abstract

The persistence of gendered pay inequality some 30 years after its formal prohibition raises questions over the mechanisms sustaining it. Recent contributions highlight the role of low skills visibility and valuation in maintaining pay inequality in predominantly female occupations. We examine the skills and rewards of early years’ workers and the organisational processes that define them. We do so at an important juncture when the importance and regulation of the ‘early years’’ sector has increased significantly; and following extensive organisational restructuring aimed at delivering pay equality. We conclude that whilst the application of more systematic forms of skill measurement have improved the relative rewards of nursery nurses, highly gendered constructions of their skills, particularly those most closely linked to mothering, continue to impact negatively on their valuation. The presence of caring activities appears to eclipse their role in education. Complex institutional and organisational factors maintain important aspects of gender inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2007_43.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2007_43

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Keywords: caring; early years’; gender; grading; inequality; pay; skills; valuation;

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  1. Nancy Folbre & Julie A. Nelson, 2000. "For Love or Money--Or Both?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 123-140, Fall.
  2. Heather Rolfe, 2006. "Where are the Men? Gender Segregation in the Childcare and Early Years Sector," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 195(1), pages 103-117, January.
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