Economy and labour
How gendered labour is transformed in the digital economy, especially at its lowest rungs (contract workers, precarious labour, unsafe conditions, long working hours) and how it varies for marganalised people, particularly women, from heterogenous locations?
The internet is a high-cost space for marginalised people because of the way in which gendered labour operates in manufacturing, in mining and in other extractive industries, as well as in new economic models such as crowdsourcing, and AI-driven, sharing and gig economies. Cheap labour in middle- and low-income countries, where labour regulations are not very stringent, is essential for the global information economy.
The difficulties in measuring the value of this labour are connected to the difficulties in measuring cultural production, shadow labour or care work. Often those who are “different” are hypervisibilised, and affective and immaterial labour is extracted from them. At the same time such people are invisible and their concerns and needs do not form grounds for significant change in structures of power. Within the nascent field of feminist digital economics, it is important to build from feminist “traditional” economics that looks at how shadow work and unpaid work by women and others in the domestic sphere and outside, including reproductive and carework, forms of affective labour online and other gendered labour are essential to how the information economy functions.