Abstracts and Reading List: flexible work and inflexible care

Our 2024 Diversity at Work event will be a one-day workshop exploring the connections between economics and the opportunities and challenges for an inclusive workforce.

The economics of Intersectionality Reading List

Suggested readings


Claudia Olivetti

Talk title: Family, labour markets and policy

Abstract: Decades of progress have seen greater opportunities for women in the workplace, but sizeable gender gaps remain in most indicators of economic achievement. This talk reviews the effect of family policies on women’s careers and set out the challenges to come.



Barbara Petrongolo

Talk title: Gender in firms



Alison Andrew

Talk title: Men and women at work

Abstract: We explore gender inequalities in paid and unpaid work with a focus on the UK. The average working-age woman in the UK earned 40% less than her male counterpart in 2019; Sizeable gender gaps in participation, hours worked and hourly wages all contribute to this gap. We explore how these patterns have changed over the past 25 years and conclude that after accounting for women’s rising education, progress has been modest. At the same time, women do far more unpaid domestic work than men.  We show how inequalities evolve around parenthood and highlight how the division of labor between parents appears remarkably unrelated to relative earnings potential. Gender norms, preferences and beliefs appear crucial. We discuss consequences of our findings for material inequality and for the economy at large. We discuss the likely impacts of various current and potential policies, including parental leave, childcare and the tax and benefit system.



Morten Thomsen

Talk title: transgender populations in the labour market and beyond

Abstract: The life trajectories of gender minorities are poorly understood, and the labour market outcomes of transgender individuals are no exception. Using combined survey and administrative data, I will present novel results on transgender demographics in the labour market and beyond, and I will discuss factors contributing to vast differences between the general population and different transgender subpopulations.



Hyejin Ku

 Talk title: Implicit tournament in the workplace

Abstract: Hyejin will talk about informal competition, or implicit tournament, in the workplace, where workers are ranked and promoted based on dimensions unrelated to their productivity, such as in-person presence or visibility. Hyejin will discuss the drivers and consequences of implicit tournaments and the implications for flexible work.



Alexia Delfino

Talk title: Overcoming gender stereotypes in workforce recruitment

Abstract: In today’s changing job landscape, opportunities abound to challenge entrenched gender stereotypes linked to different roles, particularly with the rise of work-from-home options and new technologies. However, many sectors still struggle with gender diversity. This talk highlights the importance of recruitment strategies as a first step in fostering workforce diversity. By discussing recent research on attracting men to female-dominated fields, the talk will offer insights on the design of inclusive recruitment messages and processes.



Ekaterina Hertog

Talk title: Using digital monitoring technologies in childcare

Abstract: Most parents spend a substantial amount of time caring for their children, and childcare work is often concentrated at the time when both men and women are also expected to invest heavily in their careers. The rise of double income families and the steady increase in times parents spend on childcare across the Global North (see Pailhé, Solaz, and Stanfors 2021; Sani and Treas 2016) means that balancing childcare work against the demands of the paid labour market is becoming increasingly difficult. As the work parents do to raise their children intensifies, it is not surprising that parents are increasingly turning to technology for help.

A large part of the work of childcare intersects with concerns around a child’s safety—understanding where the child is, what they are doing, what they are watching, and who they are talking to. Recent technological advances have resulted in a fundamental shift in the ways that parents seek to understand and safeguard their children. Traditionally, parents relied on direct verbal communication with their children to gather information about their experiences, decisions, and whereabouts. Today, technology increasingly provides caregivers ways to externalise and automate collection of information about their children’s online and offline lives, often without young people’s awareness or consent. These technologies are widespread and include apps tracking online behaviour, physical whereabouts, spending habits and so on. In the UK, seven in ten parents of children aged 3-17 said they used some form of technical control to manage their child’s access to content online (OfCom 2023), and studies estimate that around 40-50% of parents in the UK and US use location tracking to track their children’s whereabouts (Burnell et al. 2023; Lewis 2022). This form of always-on awareness promises to free up elements of childcare for working parents—or at least, change the form of childcare work they are doing. Pervasive digital monitoring could also be increasing childcare workloads as parents are trying to be “omnipresent” and increase parental stress as supervisory childcare work can now be performed anywhere at any time.

This paper examines monitoring technologies, often referred to as “parental control apps”, how and why they are brought in to support the effort of parenting, how children experience them and the implications they have for family life.



Diva dhar

Talk title: Time to care: Gates Foundation’s learning agenda on care and women’s work

Abstract: Diva Dhar will present the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality learning agenda on care and women’s economic empowerment in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. Diva will present some of the key data and evidence from the foundation and its partners, as well as open questions for research, programming and policy.



Lily Rodel

Talk title: Parents in the hybrid workplace: gender and work in the UK tech sector

Abstract: Lily is a doctoral student at The Oxford Internet Institute and anthropologist whose research explores the impact and experience of the increased prevalence of hybrid work for parents working in the UK tech sector. Based on ongoing research, Lily will explore the implications of hybrid work for inclusivity in the workplace and how social and cultural factors may shape this relationship.



Nikhil Datta

Talk title: The supply and demand for zero hours contracts

Abstract: This project considers labour supply and demand factors for zero-hour contracts in a UK setting. This includes supply side factors such as preferences for stability vs flexibility, and demand side factors such as labour market regulations, shocks to permanent worker labour supply, and variability in product demand.



Abi Adams-Prassl

Talk title: The costs of sexual harassment



mathias jensen

Talk title: Effects of parental death

Abstract: Nearly everyone experiences the death of a parent in adulthood. We find that the death of a parent has enduring negative effects on the earnings of both adult sons and daughters, with the effects being more pronounced for daughters. Both mental health and family support channels are at play.