[SydPhil] AAP Committee for the Status of Women in the Philosophy Profession: Statement on Insecure Work (2017)

Chris Lawless administrativeofficer at aap.org.au
Wed Apr 4 18:14:28 AEST 2018

The AAP Committee for the Status of Women in the Philosophy
Profession, have now released their 'Statement on Insecure Work' which was
approved in December 2017. The Statement on Insecure Work adds to the
existing AAP Gender Statement which can be found on the *Gender Statement
page here <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/TP74COMxNytlv7PohE1U-t?domain=aap.org.au>*.

*AAP Committee for the **Status of Women in the Philosophy Profession**:
Statement on Insecure Work (2017)*

Insecure work - casual and limited term contract work -  is increasingly
prevalent within academic philosophy in Australasia. Yet insecure work
stands as an obstacle to career advancement within philosophy. Insecure
appointments are often made at the lowest level regardless of experience;
and pathways from insecure to secure employment are lacking. Many insecure
positions are teaching-intensive, and lack the career opportunities of
positions with a research component. In particular, teachers on hourly
rates are expected to undertake any research outside of their paid hours;
they face economic uncertainty from semester to semester; and their labour
may be taken for granted beyond the strict terms of their employment.

 The majority of those in insecure work in academia are women.1  Factors
explaining this inequality appear to include:

   - The initial level of appointment is lower for women (Strachan et al,
   - Women are more likely than men to be in part-time work, and part-time
   work is less likely to be secure (Strachan et al, 2006).
   - Young women often take on casual work because it offers the
   flexibility they require to meet their caring responsibilities. They have
   strong career aspirations, but they face particular difficulty
   transitioning out of insecure employment: for the longer a person is in a
   casual appointment, the less likely is their advancement to secure work
   (Gottschalk & McEachern, 2010).

 The AAP is concerned about the possibility that female philosophers are
unfairly disadvantaged by insecure employment practices. While the larger
industrial framework is determined at upper levels of administration in
higher education institutions, members of our profession do retain control
of some details of its implementation.

 Possible suggestions for best practice include the following:

   - Offer more rather than less secure employment, for instance, limited
   term rather than casual contracts;
   - Minimise last-minute employment. For example: a department may not
   know until the last minute whether it needs 8 or 12 tutorial groups in a
   semester, but it will know in advance that it will need at least 8;
   - Invite casual staff to meetings and ensure they are paid to attend;
   - Do not ask casual staff to perform, or presume they will perform,
   tasks for which they are not specifically paid.

The AAP urges all members of the profession – particularly senior members
and those involved in administration and employment decisions – to be aware
of these concerns and and to be alert to ways in which, where there is a
problem of equity in this regard, it might be justly ameliorated.


1Strachan et al, 2006; Gottschalk & McEachern, 2010. The situation in
philosophy not currently known, but is under investigation by the
Australian Academy for the Humanities through an ARC Linkage Learned
Academies Special Project. See also Zheng 2018 for an analysis of the
gendered ethos of the contemporary academy.

 *Further resources:*

   - Glenda Strachan, David Peetz, Gillian Whitehouse, Janis Bailey, Kaye
   Broadbent, Robyn May, Carolyn Troup, Michelle Nesic (2006), *Women,
   Careers, and Universities: Where To From Here?* (Griffith University:
   Centre for Work, Organisation, and Wellbeing).
   - Robyn May, Linda Gale, Iain Campbell, 'Casually Appointed, Permanently
   Exploited: How is NTEU responding to the casualisation of academia in the
   current climate?', http://www.nteu.org.au/library/view/id/4830
   - Lorene Gottschalk, Steve McEachern (2010) 'The frustrated career:
   casual employment in higher education', *Australian Universities Review* 52
   (1), 37-50.
   - Robin Zheng (2018), 'Precarity is a Feminist Issue: Gender and
   Contingent Labor in the Academy', *Hypatia* doi: 10.1111/hypa.12401
   - https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/AIp1CP7yOZt93jDqU0S-P5?domain=unicasual.org.au
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