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Title: Between a grammar of discrimination and a grammar of disconnection : equal pay law, sex-based low pay and care work
Author: Hayes, Lydia
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This socio-legal research considers the issue of women's low pay and the structure of equal pay law. It concerns how the social justice goal of equal pay is translated into enforceable non-discrimination standards in international, European and domestic law. The focus is paid care work as an exemplar of contemporary pay discrimination in Britain. The research takes three approaches. Firstly, to apply Nancy Fraser's social justice schema of recognition, redistribution and representation to the issue of women's low pay. Secondly, to subject the current framework of equal pay law to critique in relation to low-waged work. Thirdly, to interview care workers and analyse their experiential account of pay injustice in a reproductive industry. The research finds that equal pay law does not address injustices of sex-based pay which are particular to low-waged work, and that the experiential account of sex-based pay is discordant with legal conceptions of pay discrimination. It is argued that equal pay law is, in Fraser's terms, ' misframed '. The thesis presents women's lower pay as an injustice interpreted through two distinct 'grammars' ; a legal grammar of discrimination and an experiential grammar of disconnection. Pay discrimination is currently understood as a conditional injustice in which comparative discrimination names the conditions of sex-based pay. Research data suggests that low pay in reproductive industries fragments women's participation as peers within the economy of paid employment. An injustice of disconnection is itself a discrimination of sex-based low pay. The thesis advocates for broadening a vocabulary of discrimination as an endeavour with twin merit. Firstly, it might enable care workers to place their experience of pay injustice on a spectrum of sex-based legal entitlement. Secondly, it would provide a platform for reform of equal pay law, of benefit to a critical mass of women, and in the interests of social justice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available