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


  • Jeanette Findlay


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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  • Jeanette Findlay, 2007. "Child’s play? Skills, regulation and reward amongst ‘early years’ workers," Working Papers 2007_43figures, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  • Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2007_43figures

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    References listed on IDEAS

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

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