Book Chapter

Age, gender and precarity: the experience of late career self-employment



Meliou E & Mallett O (2024) Age, gender and precarity: the experience of late career self-employment. In: Diversity and Precarious Work During Socio-Economic Upheaval. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In this chapter, we first offer a background to the precarity in employment that older workers experience and provide insights into the societal and organizational structures and norms that shape ageing in employment and everyday life. We then adopt an intersectional perspective to theorise the precarity experienced by older self-employed women. Previous studies of self-employed women have tended to focus on women as parents (e.g. deriving the compound ‘mumpreneur’) and often at an earlier stage of their lives. Studies of self-employed older people have tended to focus on men. This has left self-employed older women as invisible in the literature and our study addresses this by stressing the significance of considering the intersection of age and gender to study the experiences of older women in self-employment. Our theorisation enables us to simultaneously consider the interplay between individual agency and context to shed light on privileges and disadvantages that shape precarity employment for older self-employed women. To illustrate our arguments we present three biographical cases of older self-employed women in the United Kingdom. Finally, we discuss the implications of age, gender and self-employment and conclude with a call for inclusive policy to tackle precarity in this context.

Publication date31/12/2024
Publication date online28/02/2024
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publisher URL…_source=bookmark
Place of publicationCambridge

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Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Management, Work and Organisation