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Durham e-Theses
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Women for Hire: an analysis of the factors influencing attitudes to work among female temporary clerical workers

McNally, Fiona (1978) Women for Hire: an analysis of the factors influencing attitudes to work among female temporary clerical workers. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Although office work is now the single cost common occupational category in which women are located, our understanding of the “white-bloused” worker remains fragmentary and heavily informed by untested assumptions about female orientations to work. This thesis is primarily concerned to breach this gap in our knowledge and to challenge the assumption that women-are simply passive bystanders in the world of work. The first part of the thesis represents a synthesis of sociological and other material relevant to an understanding of the nature of female participation in the white-collar labour market. Particular attention is paid to the factors which inhibit both job satisfaction and promotion opportunities for the female clerk. This section is also concerned to identify the range of available responses to the problems and dissatisfactions encountered by women in this sphere of employment, and, in this way, develops the theme of women as active agents in the determination of their working lives. The second part of the thesis is devoted to a detailed analysis of women working as temporary office staff through the medium of the private employment agency. The temporary office worker is shown to be symptomatic of the disadvantages attaching to female status in the white-collar labour market, and as illustrative of women's capacity to negotiate and manoeuvre within the constraints which confront then in office employment. The discussion is based upon the findings deriving from a variety of research methods and incorporates an examination of the role of the private employment agency as an occupational gatekeeper, simultaneously extending and circumscribing women’s opportunities to shape the course of their work careers. The thesis concludes with a critical review of past and present perspectives encountered in the sociology of female employment, and suggests a number of issues to which future research in this area might usefully be addressed. "It may be suitable that the women should have their turn on the stage when the men have quite finished their performance." (from The Republic of Plato)

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:18

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