Internships and precarious work through a feminist lens

Since the last time in October, when we had a chance to sit together and share a meal, it has become literally visible to us that the problem of precarious work and internships is in great part a female problem. It comes to us now, clearer and clearer, that the gender distribution of unpaid internships is not an unexpected result but rather part of the structure and very nature of precarious work.

So Anke just found this great article by Madeleine Schwartz, very recently published in the Dissident magazine Opportunity Costs: The True Price of Internships by Madeleine Schwartz

Take a couple of minutes and have a look at it. Madeleine Schwartz writes about the invisibility, obscurity and uncertainty of the intern position and proposes an analysis of temporary and precarious work through a feminist lens. Describing interns as “the housewives of the working world”, Schwartz reflects about the problematic of flexibility and obedience demanded by contingency.

“A feminist lens can help us look at this changing work. Although interns have entered en masse into workplaces in the past few decades, their complacence isn’t new. We have only to look at the parallel case—women and their household work. Indeed, if we are to understand how to strengthen the position of those who do contingent labor, we need to look more carefully at the similarities of contingent labor, women’s work, and the free labor of interns.”


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