Abstract 24:47-77

Michalik, Sebastian (2014) Employment of women: between the promise of empowerment and the diktat of capitalism. „Profilaktyka Społeczna i Resocjalizacja” 24: 47-77.



The paper focuses on explaining processes and factors behind a mass employment of women, since the 1970s on. The author’s ultimate aim is to answer the following question: To what extent professional activity may be seen as a resource available for women empowerment or to what extent such activity is subordinated to external social forces and exploited by them. Even if the article takes a form of a theoretical analysis, it is still based on statistical data made available by the authors cited in the text, and on reports from international institutions. The paper reconstructs and compares two competing theoretical perspectives within which the mass feminization of the workforce is analyzed. The first one has been developed by G. Esping-Andersen and assumes that the said phenomenon was enabled by the defamilization of home and care tasks. The second interpretative narrative unbounds within the framework of political economy and critical theory. Mass employment of women is there explained in terms of the progressive transformation of capitalism, set in motion in the mid-1970s, and associated with the emergence of post-industrial, network-like structures of production, management or employment in the free market economy. In the conclusive remarks the author demonstrates a greater cognitive usefulness of the second interpretative frame. This is the starting point to argue that the employment of women, despite its mass scale, is still, to a great extent, subordinated and exploited in both, capitalistic economic structures and the patriarchal economy of the household.



employment of women, defamilization, political economics, capitalism, patriarchy