Work and life in the global eco - debra howcroft

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Work and Life in the Global Economy This page intentionally left blank Work and Life in the Global Economy A Gendered Analysis of Service Work Edited By Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson Selection and editorial content © Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson 2010 Individual chapters © the contributors 2010 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The authors have asserted their rights to be identified as the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2010 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Palgrave Macmillan in the UK is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan in the US is a division of St Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN: 978–0–230–58084–8 hardback This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham and Eastbourne Contents List of Tables vii Notes on Contributors viii 1. Introduction Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson 1 2. Women as Knowledge Workers: From the Telegraph to the Computer Alison Adam 15 3. Respectability and Flexibility in the Neoliberal Service Economy Carla Freeman 33 4. ‘Are you married?’ Exploring Gender in a Global Workplace in India Marisa D’Mello 52 5. Gendered Hierarchies in Transnational Call Centres in India Kiran Mirchandani 78 6. Domestic Labour – The Experience of Work in India’s Other Call Centre Industry Phil Taylor, Premilla D’Cruz, Ernesto Noronha and Dora Scholarios 7. 99 ‘Caring’ Professionals: Global Migration and Gendered Cultural Economy Shoba Arun 124 8. The Crisis of Care, International Migration, and Public Policy Lourdes Benería 142 9. Reflections on Gender and Pay Inequalities in the Contemporary Service Economy Diane Perrons 165 v vi Contents 10. Clerks, Cashiers, Customer Carers: Women’s Work in European Services Juliet Webster 185 11. An ICT Skills Model of Inclusion: Contemporary Distortions of Equity in British Network Engineer Training Hazel Gillard 209 12. The Isolated Professional: Conflict, Fragmentation and Overload in UK Financial Services Leo McCann 226 13. Cultural Constraints: Japanese Mothers Working in a Multinational Corporation Barbara Crump and Rachel Crump 253 Index 277 Tables 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 8.1 8.2 12.1 13.1 Top 10 domestic outsourced call centre companies Sample characteristics Call volumes and duration Degree of pressure as a result of work on a normal day Aspects which contribute to pressure of work Working conditions which would make BPO employees join UNITES by gender (mean rating of importance) Latin American women immigrants to Spain; selected countries, 2006 Capabilities and public policies Mean levels of agreement with statements about causes of stress Demographic profile of Impac Japan women vii 103 109 112 113 114 118 151 157 236 260 Contributors Alison Adam is Professor of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Salford. Her research interests include computer ethics, gender and information systems, philosophy of artificial intelligence, sociology of forensic sciences, and privacy and information technologies. She is researching the last area as part of the collaborative EPSRC VOME project (Visualisation and Other Methods of Expression). Recent publications include Gender, Ethics and Information Technology (Palgrave Macmillan 2005). Shoba Arun is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. After completing her MPhil in Applied Economics from India, she obtained her PhD in Sociology, from the University of Manchester, UK. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in the field of sociology, cultural and global studies. Her research interests are in the field of globalization, gender, information and communication technology, labour market and employment, global migration and poverty studies. She has published widely on gender and globalization issues in various journals and books. She has served on Boards such as the Women’s Commission and One World in Northern Ireland. Lourdes Benería is a Professor at Cornell University and holds a joint appointment with the City and Regional Planning Department and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her work and multiple publications have focused on issues related to labour and the informal economy, women’s work, gender and development, globalization, and Latin American development. Recent books include: Gender, Development and Globalization, Economics as if all People Mattered (Routledge 2003); Global Tensions. Challenges and Opportunities in the World Economy (with Savitri Bisnath, Routledge 2003); and Rethinking Labor Market Informalization: Poverty, Precarious Jobs and Social Protection (with Neema Kudva, The Internet-First University Press 2006). Barbara Crump is a senior lecturer in information systems of the Department of Management at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Her research addresses the digital divide within communities, participation and work–life balance of ICT professionals, and the viii Contributors ix computing learning environment. She is interested in collaborative, cross- discipline and cross-national research and has publications relating to Malaysia and Japan. Her teaching currently focuses on social media and online communities and information systems in business. Rachel Crump recently completed a Master’s degree at Waseda University’s graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies in Tokyo. Her thesis presented the results of a comparative study of working mothers in the Japan and New Zealand branches of a multinational corporation. She works for the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo. Premilla D’Cruz is Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Her research interests include emotions in organizations, workplace bullying, self and identity, organizational control, and ICTs and organizations. She has been involved in several studies of the Indian ITES-BPO industry, including studies of employee work experiences and collectivization. Marisa D’Mello has a doctorate from the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture (TIK), University of Oslo, Norway. Her doctoral project, completed in 2006, examined identities of Indian Information Technology (IT) workers and their relationship with globalization processes, mobilities, culture, gender and organizational practices. Marisa’s postgraduate degrees are in Psychology from India and the USA. She has been a Lecturer in Psychology for several years in Mumbai as well as a Human Resources professional in the IT industry in India. Currently, she is an independent organizational consultant and researcher in the IT industry in Mumbai. Carla Freeman is Winship Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Emory University. Her publications include a book entitled High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work, and Pink Collar Identities in the Caribbean (Duke University Press 2000) and numerous articles focusing on globalization, gender, and changing relations of production, consumption and social class. She is completing a new book, Neoliberal Respectability: Entrepreneurship and the Making of a New Caribbean Middle Class, and is researching transnational circuits of IT labour and the expanding phenomenon of white- collar ‘outsourcing’ and ‘insourcing’. Hazel Gillard has a background of some 30 years’ lecturing in a wide range of subjects in Adult Community, Further and Higher Education in London, UK, and completed her PhD in Information Systems at the London School of Economics in 2006. Her interests in the philosophical x Contributors and material manifestations of our gendered relations with information and communications technologies, and in how political agendas and the labour market influence pedagogic content and processes, emerged from her personal work experiences in local government managing the implementation and training requirements of new housing systems after completion of an MSc in Computer Science. Trained in structural social anthropology and critical research during the 1970s, she seeks to unify the theories of that period with today’s privileging of personal narratives. Also a shiatsu and auricular acupuncture practitioner, she has worked in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme that has also supported sex workers in West London for the last 10 years, and is currently studying Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Debra Howcroft is Professor of Technology and Organisations at Manchester Business School and a member of the ESRC-funded Centre for Research on Socio- Cultural Change (CRESC). Broadly, her research interests are concerned with the drivers and consequences of socioeconomic restructuring in a global context. She is co- editor of The Handbook of Critical Information Systems Research: Theory and Application (Edward Elgar Publishers 2005), Social Inclusion: Societal & Organizational Implications for Information Systems (Springer-Verlag 2006); and Foundations, Philosophy and Research Methods (Sage Publications 2008). Leo McCann is Lecturer in International and Comparative Management at Manchester Business School. He completed his PhD at the University of Kent, and previously taught at the University of Cardiff. His research focuses on how large-scale economic restructuring impacts on working life in a range of countries, especially as regards white- collar and managerial labour. He has published several articles about white- collar working life, which have appeared in journals such as Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies and British Journal of Industrial Relations. He is also a co-author of Managing in the Modern Corporation, published by Cambridge University Press. Kiran Mirchandani is an Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She has published on home-based work, telework, precarious work, entrepreneurship, transnational service work and self-employment. She teaches in the Adult Education and Community Development Program and is the Director of the Collaborative Program in Workplace Learning and Social Change. She offers courses on gendered and racialized processes in the workplace; critical perspectives on organizational development and learning; and technology, globalization and economic restructuring. Contributors xi Ernesto Noronha is Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. His research interests include ethnicity and diversity at work; labour relations; downsizing; organizational control; and ICTs and organizations. He has extensively studied the Indian ITES-BPO industry, including studies on employee work experiences and collectivization. His other research work has been on labour issues in Indian ports and ethnicity in Indian organizations. Diane Perrons is Professor of Economic Geography and Gender Studies at the London School of Economics. She published Globalization and Social Change; People and Places in a Divided World (Routledge 2004) and co- edited the anthology Gender Divisions and Working Time in the New Economy Changing Patterns of Work, Care and Public Policy in Europe and North America (Edward Elgar 2007). Diane’s research focuses on the social and spatial implications of global economic restructuring, paying particular attention to the changing composition of employment, gender and regional inequalities, and the social reproduction of daily life. Helen Richardson is a Senior Lecturer in Information Systems (IS) and joined the University of Salford in 1998 after a varied career including working in the field of Social Care and running a Research and Training Unit promoting Positive Action for Women at Work. She works in the Research Centre for People, Work and Organization and is engaged in Critical Research in IS, including issues of gender in the ICT labour market and the global location of service work. Phil Taylor is Professor in Work and Employment Studies in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Strathclyde. He has researched and published extensively on work organization and employment relations in call centres, and has recently conducted several investigations into offshoring and the globalization of business services. Other interests include occupational health, worker experiences of privatization and the implementation of lean in the public sector. He is currently co- editor of Work, Employment and Society. Dora Scholarios is a Reader in Organisational Behaviour at Strathclyde University. Her research interests span the areas of employee well-being, identity, and recruitment and selection, with a specific interest in attitudes, well-being and conceptions of skill in call centres and software work. Dora is currently reviews editor of Work, Employment and Society. Juliet Webster‘s main research interest is in the employment and working lives of women across the European Union, and the actions and xii Contributors policies necessary to improve their working conditions and prospects for advancement. Her past research has focused mainly on women in IT professions, and on women’s employment in routine service jobs. She is the author of Office Automation: The Labour Process and Women’s Work in Britain (1990) and Shaping Women’s Work: Gender, Employment and Information Technology (1996), and co- editor of The Information Society in Europe: Work and Life in an Age of Globalisation (2000). 1 Introduction Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson This edited book has emerged from a CRESC1 (Centre for Research on Socio- Cultural Change) workshop held in Manchester in February 2008, which provided a forum to debate ‘Gender, Service Work and the Cultural Economy’. The aim of this collection, based largely on contributions from the workshop, is to explore the social and cultural issues within the economic changes that have given rise to service work, which represents the largest occupational sector (ILO 2008). This sector is often polarized between higher-paid ICT-enabled ‘knowledge work’ and lower-paid catering, cleaning and care work. In order to gain a broad appreciation of working lives, we adopt an inclusive approach with chapters covering a variety of types of service work. Written by specialists in their respective fields, this book draws together authors from interdisciplinary areas that are carrying out significant research into the totality of women’s working lives and studying varying combinations of gender and service work within an international context. Authors originate from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including sociology, anthropology, critical management, industrial relations, economics, geography, gender studies, and science and technology studies. Accordingly, the analysis being presented is accompanied by diverse illustrations, such as IT workers in Mumbai, lone parents undergoing CISCO network engineer training in London, financial and retail service workers in Europe, Indian nurses working for the UK NHS, a historical study of female telegraphers, and call centre staff employed to service the emerging domestic market in India. Gender and service work in the global economy As women’s participation in labour markets increases (ILO 2007) along with the expansion of service sector work, expectations emerge that 1 2 Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson suggest increased opportunities and gender equality beckon. Yet, as more women participate in paid employment, equality of opportunity remains elusive (Elson 1999; Perrons 2004), with women often concentrated in industries where profit margins are protected by shrinking labour costs, extending working hours or reducing the number of formal workers (Heintz 2006). The feminization of employment is a term used to describe the increasing numbers of women entering the jobs market, and highlights the irony of suggesting that women are integrated as equals into the workforce at a time when women have been pushed into more precarious forms of work. It is used to characterize the activities associated with ‘women’s work’: ideologically constructed and with fluid definitions according to the role of the family and the specific requirements of the local labour market at any given time. The influx of women workers has been particularly pronounced in the service sector (Horgan 2001; UNCTAD 2003) and these trends are most marked in countries where women’s participation in agriculture is low (for example in East and South East Asia and Latin America). Women moving into ICT- enabled service work, such as financial and IT services, have displaced men in areas once considered to be well-paid and highly skilled. These changes in employment indicators should be interpreted within the framework of labour markets generally, since they are ‘gendered institutions’ operating at the intersections of the productive and reproductive economies and often constructed on assumptions that women are secondary earners (Elson 1999). Discrimination also features, resulting in women being concentrated in occupations of low or unequal pay or with gender pay gaps, in work of high risk and insecurity and with few opportunities for advancement. Shifting global employment trends have gone hand-in-hand with liberalization, featuring an easing of restrictions on internal and external trade and deregulation of labour protection, which has enabled unprecedented growth in contract labour and opportunities for subcontracting (Jhabvala and Sinha 2007). This has facilitated a reduction of the core size of the firm with an expansion of the periphery to new outsourced sites in other (often less developed) countries (Benería 2001) as firms search for more flexible ways to accumulate capital. In the quest for new sources of profit, labour is sought in cheaper localities, aided by neoliberal policies, which aim to support the deregulation of trade and financial transactions. Contemporary debates concerning globalization of the economy tend to place emphasis on new clusters of scientific and technological innovations – particularly ICTs – and the convergence of ways of life around Introduction 3 the globe (Wajcman 2002; Perrons 2004). Within the service sector, networking technologies have enabled market expansion, removed geographical constrictions and facilitated wider organizational diffusion as large amounts of data are shared and transmitted at minimal cost (Ellis and Taylor 2006). The competitiveness of the offshoring industry rests on its connectivity (Abugattas 2007), as robust international communication networks mean it is now possible to produce services in one place while they are simultaneously being consumed in another. The application of ICTs to many service activities have allowed for the fragmentation of production based on standardized processes (Mann 2007) as international divisions of labour and regional inequalities become increasingly apparent (Castree et al. 2004; Huws 2007). Ostensibly, the increasing adoption of ICTs may appear to break down spatial barriers as investors and companies globally relocate to lower labour cost regions or shift focus from the formal to the informal economy. Yet the specificities of location become increasingly significant as global capital selects location based on almost minimal differences between places (Herod et al. 2007). To attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), developing countries need to be able to offer key location-specific assets, which include political and economic stability, possibilities for low- cost production or special market access, a well-functioning telecommunications infrastructure and a burgeoning software sector for back- office process and software services (Paus 2007). These spatial considerations must be borne in mind as capitalists negotiate two contradictory spatial tendencies – the need for sufficient geographical mobility to seek out investment opportunities in new locations, and the need for sufficient geographical fixity so that accumulation can occur (Harvey 1982). Hence we see that, although India remains the dominant supplier of offshore services among developing countries, a number of Indian firms are either relocating aspects of their own offshoring activity to other countries in order to maintain competitiveness or tapping into offshoring opportunities in other developing countries so as to pre- empt the emergence of competitors (Abugattas 2007). Place and location take on different characteristics as capitalists seek new spatial forms. The Caribbean, for example, served as the initial location for information processing work (Freeman 2000; Freeman this volume), but this has now been surpassed by regions of India, where much of the UK and US ICT work is outsourced (Taylor and Bain 2005). Given that, in the majority of countries in the world, women are still at an economic disadvantage compared with men (ILO 2004), some argue optimistically that ICT-enabled service work has the potential to provide 4 Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson distinct possibilities for reducing gender inequities and providing economic autonomy for women workers. These opportunities are seen to arise in a number of ways (Stanworth 2000). Firstly, the global expansion of capitalism has been dependent on a huge influx of women into the workforce, women who have traditionally been dependent on husbands and male relatives, and so paid employment offers a new degree of financial independence. Secondly, ICTs release women from time and location constraints traditionally associated with the workplace, thus allowing women to better combine paid work with caring responsibilities (the rhetoric of work–life balance). Thirdly, proponents of the information or network age (Bell 1973; Castells 1996) predict the rise of flatter organizations, based on teamwork rather than competition, allowing more women to be represented in management positions. However, this view of ICT-enabled restructuring suggests that new technologies create new societies rather than changing the terms in which social, political and economic relations are played out (Wacjman 2002; Mansell 2002). This view of technology, organization and globalization suffers from a naïve determinism, which assumes that unidirectional trends are taking place. Mainstream analysis constructs assumptions about opportunities for women in the labour market that are divorced from their sociocultural experience. The impact of technologies on work and skill is complex and uncertain (Wajcman 2006) and needs to be treated as endogenous and contingent, not as an independent given. While on the surface the rapid expansion of the ICT- enabled service sector in developing economies and its potential for providing whitecollar work for women workers may appear positive, on closer inspection it appears that gains for women are questionable (Howcroft and Richardson 2008). The purported benefits are further queried when considering the scale of the informal economy, with shifts towards greater casualization and flexibilization (Carr and Chen 2001). It has been argued that the upward trend in the female share of the labour force is largely attributable to the spread of more flexible and informal employment, which involves a disproportionate number of women and migrant workers across the globe (Mitra 2005; Pearson 2003; Standing 2006; Wield and Chataway 2000). A persistent gap in the literature on women’s employment in the global labour market is the lack of recognition and underenumeration of informal sector work (Elson 1999; Chen et al. 1999; Standing 1999), which may constitute the primary source of income for many families. This further enhances the invisibility of women’s work and perpetuates the assumption that informal sector employment contributes little to global or national economies. Introduction 5 Often dichotomized, the formal and informal sector are not parallel economies split into two circuits, since the informal economy is an integral part of the global market economy (Steans 2000), being both dependent upon and subordinate to the formal sector (Breman 2006). At the firm level, decentralization – both within firms and geographically – along with changes in the composition of the workforce has made a substantial impact (Benería 2003). A trend in many developing countries is that formal enterprises have been increasing their involvement with informalized labour through outsourcing and subcontracting (Standing 2006; Ward and Pyle 2000). In order to have greater understanding of women’s role in the global economy, the totality of their working lives requires examination. For many women their centrality as care providers in the family means they have to attempt to reconcile work and family demands. This unequal and gendered domestic division of labour impacts on women’s experiences in the labour market and leads to what has been described as the ‘feminization of poverty’ (Heintz 2006). Elson (1999) reminds us that labour markets operate at the intersection of ‘ways in which people make a living and care for themselves, their children, their relatives and friends’. Neoliberalist policies have led to the squeezing of household incomes, pushing women into income-generating activities, while cutbacks in public services have intensified demands on women’s unpaid work. Much of the gender and development research has emphasized the need to redefine work to incorporate paid labour in the formal sector, paid informal sector work, and unpaid labour in the household (Ward and Pyle 2000). Households take different forms in different societies, yet the majority of women in the world work in two or three of these categories, aptly called ‘the triple shift’. Domestic chores generally remain the responsibility of women, yet the role of domestic work in shaping women’s lives has been under-researched outside feminist scholarship. Domestic and care responsibilities diminish women’s mobility and autonomy in designing their own labour market strategies. These structures and practices are recalcitrant to change and contribute toward unequal gender relations in the household and in employment, and their cultural variances affect women and men in very different ways. Undoubtedly, for some women the feminization of employment has provided an element of financial independence. In certain instances, such as women’s entry into the ICT sector, benefits have emerged as household incomes increase and women have more mobility and influence over household matters (Kelkar and Nathan 2002). However, the 6 Debra Howcroft and Helen Richardson ability of employment to reduce poverty depends on prevailing gender relations and intrahousehold dynamics. Access to paid employment does not necessarily imply that women can exercise control over a household’s income (Heintz 2006; Elson 1999) and often means that women’s work has multiplied as gender-based divisions of labour remain unchanged (Gillard et al. 2008). Organization of the book As mentioned above, the chapters in this book cover a variety of types of service occupations in an international context. To differing levels of detail they also touch on aspects of the feminization of labour, informalization, ICT- enabled work, the role of policy, domestic responsibilities, work–life balance, the gendering of skills and the deskilling of professional work. The collection begins with Alison Adam’s historical study of knowledge work in information and communication technologies, which provides a detailed analysis of the gendering of technical work in the telegraph, telephone, and computer industry. This recovery of women’s history is pivotal to understanding the crucial role played by women in the organization of work and in laying the foundations for modern corporations’ conception of information processing and knowledge work. What is regarded as skilled, technical work shifts over time and is shaped by conceptions of masculinity and femininity and women’s role in the workplace. The historical analysis reveals the continued struggle of women with technical skills to gain recognition for their contribution in areas of employment where they are marginalized and often rendered invisible. Chapter 3, from Carla Freeman, offers a detailed account, based on a 20-year research study, of information processing work in the Caribbean island of Barbados. Much has been written about the offshoring of service work to India and other Asian countries, yet as early as the 1980s Barbados proved a primary testing ground for the offshoring of information processing work. Parallels can be drawn with other locations (such as India – see below) as we see a combination of various elements shaping locational decisions. These include having a highly educated and low-waged work force, stable socio-political climate, strong infrastructure and tax incentives for foreign investors, as well as operating within the same time zone as Eastern US business. The Caribbean informatics employees are referred to as ‘pink- collar’ workers to signify their feminine profile and their ambiguous placing between white and Introduction 7 blue- collar classifications. The extensive study of informatics workers is complemented by the study of another group of social actors: the growing number of new middle- class entrepreneurs. Here a new range of initiatives from various organizations such as the Barbados Government, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the private sector have been fostered to encourage entrepreneurialism, whilst cutting back on the social welfare system. Work in the informal economy, which was once demonized, is now valorized as a means of promoting self- employment. In Freeman’s study, these two groups are used as a lens through which to enquire how meanings of class and gender are reframed by the converging forces of production and consumption. These convergences and challenges are unpacked using the concept of ‘reputation–respectability’ as a means of exploring our understandings of femininity and social class in the context of neoliberal capitalism. Offshoring information processing work is further explored with Marisa D’Mello’s discussion of the gender dimensions of global software organisations (GSOs). GSOs have witnessed rapid growth over the last couple of decades and are India’s largest formal private sector employer, positioning themselves as knowledge-based, meritocratic and genderneutral. The case study being presented focuses on a GSO in Mumbai city – the economic and financial capital of India. Women constitute around 30% of the GSO workforce in India, and, as IT skill shortages remain a worldwide concern, the issue of how to increase the numbers of women in the IT industry continues to perplex policymakers and industrialists. However, far from GSOs being an arena of gender neutrality, D’Mello outlines the ways in which gendered relations emerge and are reproduced in a GSO. A critical feature of this type of work is the requirement for mobility, flexible working, and a commitment to the long hours culture. These expectations impact on the gendered nature of GSO work, and so we find that women are under-represented in the managerial ranks and also in the technical areas, where they are assigned routine work in support functions. This contributes to a gender pay gap, along with the stereotyping of women’s role in the workplace, since marriage and motherhood are assumed to have direct implications for their career choice and development. In conclusion, D’Mello argues that GSOs are far from a ‘level playing field’ for female and male IT workers but are a local and globally constructed site where traditional and stereotypical gendered norms are reinforced socially and structurally. Often seen as lying at the other end of the spectrum is the offshoring of call centre work, whose growth symbolizes the globalization of
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