Informal Work and Gender Equality in Post-Socialist Bulgarian Society Cover Image
  • Price 2.50 €

Неформален труд и равенство между половете в постсоциалистическото българско общество
Informal Work and Gender Equality in Post-Socialist Bulgarian Society

Author(s): Ana Luleva
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with the relationship of informal labour with gender order and the (re)production of the gender inequalities in the post-socialist society undergoing transformation. The scope has been defined of the concepts of informal economy and informal labour. Bearing in mind the close relationship of labour in the informal and formal economies, the basic indicators have been brought to the fore characterizing the differences between men and women in the sphere of formal labour. The involvement has been considered of women in the informal economy: the division of labour between genders in this sphere, the gender ideology it is tied up with, as well as the impact it exerts on the post-socialist gender order taking shape. These tasks have been resolved by combining the macro- and micro-level of the phenomenon studied, respectively, of the quantitative data concerning the involvement of men and women in formal and informal labour and the quality data, collected in biographical and thematic interviews, whereby the attitude is revealed of the social actors to the informal labour and its being turned into a problem in connection with gender inequality. It has been studied how the informal economies fit in the everyday life of men and women and whether there are any gender differences in informal employment and how, along what lines, the participation of men and women in that labour modifies their interrelations. Insofar as the division of informal labour is subordinated more to cultural and gender norms than to institutional norms and rights, and within the context of “the normalization” patriarchal discourse in the wake of 1989, the informal economy has been boosting the stereotype assignment of certain kinds of labour as “female”, naturalizing them and tying them up with the natural capabilities and qualities of women. In this way all the services, which are a follow-up of household work and childcare, of looking after old and elderly people are “naturally” taken over by women. Women are considered to be “suitable” for the monotonous home-bound work of the tailoring, shoe-making, food and beverages industries. It is likewise “natural” for women to be unpaid workers on the household farm. The latter even do not view this labour as “true work”. As a result, through the gender division of labour in the informal sphere (traditional) gender identities are structured and produce inequalities between men and women. The gender gap intensifies both in public and in household labour. One of the main causes underlying this has been the absence of any sensitivity to gender inequalities in Bulgarian women. They accept the equality of men and women as something achieved, as a fact. Tending to uphold this view and attaching first-rate importance to the survival of the family, they easily turn their backs to their own rights and their equality. And their expectations and conceptions of the latter are closely connected with the level of their gender consc

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 53-66
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Bulgarian