Date and time
Welcome to join the first online seminar of the Gender and Regional Studies network of the Regional Studies Association.
In this session, we will be discussing the gendered and spatial aspects of working from home with Dr. Darja Reuschke who will present on the subject of home working during COVID-19, and Dr. Elizabeth Wagemann along with Dr. Beth Simons and Victoria Maynard. We have two exciting talks as part of the seminar, with details about the abstracts and speakers below:
Talk 1: Darja Reuschke
The gendered impact of the COVID-19 pandemic-crisis on the self-employed
The self-employed have been particularly vulnerable to lockdowns and limitations to mobility and businesses. As a consequence, they were found to be harder hit by the pandemic-driven crisis in several countries (Qian and Fan, 2020 for China; Beland and Mikola, 2020 for Canada; Crossley et al., 2020 for the UK). What is more, the current crisis has been described as a crisis of self-employed women who were hardest hit in terms of losses of earnings and hours worked (Graeber et al., 2021). Explanations for this, however, are inconsistent. While some argue that it is industry gender segregation (Graeber et al., 2021), others also point at the relevance of women running firms that are younger and smaller than those of men (Manolova et al., 2020). Relatively little consideration has been given in this debate to care and domestic work although these have been highlighted as uniquely shaping workers’ experiencing in this unprecedented crisis.
Using data from the Understanding Society Covid-19 Study that started in April 2020 and followed the same respondents during the pandemic, I will provide a more holistic picture of the gendered impact of the current crisis on the self-employed in the UK. Longitudinal analysis of the experiences of self-employed women compared to self-employed men and employees suggests that the immediate impact at the beginning of the pandemic was shaped by the selection of self-employed women into industries that were particularly affected by mitigation measures. However, longer-term experiences and resilience is significantly shaped by care responsibilities.
Darja Reuschke, Associate Professor at the School of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton, is the Principal Investigator of the project “Addressing inclusivity in the spatial and social impacts of COVID-19 on the self-employed in the UK” which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19 (ES/V008781/1). Her research interests focus on self-employment, the future of work and organisational transformations.
Talk 2: Elizbeth Wagemann, Beth Simons & Victoria Maynard
Shelter and Home Based Work
After a disaster one of the most critical issues for affected communities is reconstruction of housing, termed shelter in humanitarian settings. For many households in the Global South a home is also a workplace. In these contexts, 20-50% of households run small businesses from within or around the home – known as Home-Based Enterprises (HBEs). Moreover, HBEs are particularly important for women as domestic responsibilities or socio-cultural norms may restrict them from pursuing livelihoods outside the home. Also, women may combine HBEs with domestic work and childcare, and provide support to other women. Then, destruction of homes during a disaster has the potential to impact the way many people earn a living (especially women), therefore, re-establishing livelihoods after a crisis is a key task.
HBEs are a crucial income source for populations affected by disaster, while the contribution of shelter to HBEs ‘is often considered the most important way that shelter can support economic development in post-disaster societies’ (Sheppard and Hill, 2005). In order to explore the relationship between humanitarian shelter and HBEs we have conducted a scoping review on recent literature in the Global South. We will present our research processes to date, outlining the main review methodology and HBE concepts alongside challenges with working within a multi-disciplinary and novel topic.
Dr. Elizabeth Wagemann is a Professor in Architecture at Universidad Diego Portales, Chile. She is an architect and MArch from Universidad Católica de Chile, and MPhil and PhD in Architecture from University of Cambridge. Her research is focused on post-disaster housing, resilience, and sustainable development.
Dr. Beth Simons trained as a geoscientist and has a number of years experience working in humanitarian shelter programming, coordination and research for INGOs and the UN in post-disaster and conflict settings, mostly Ethiopia.
Victoria Maynard has 15 years experience supporting, evaluating and researching humanitarian shelter and settlement programmes. She trained as an architect and is currently completing a PhD at University College London on humanitarian decision-making.