Vosko, Leah F.
VOSKO, Leah F.
PERSONAL: Female. Education: Ph.D., 1998.
ADDRESSES: Office—York University, Atkinson College, Third Floor, School of Social Science, 90 Pond Rd., Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Educator and author. McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, former assistant professor of labor studies and political science; York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada research chair in feminist political economy; University of Toronto, Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, adjunct scientist. Principal investigator for the Community University Research Alliance of Contingent Work and Gender and Work database. Virtual scholar-in-residence for Law Commission of Canada, 2003–04.
Temporary Work: The Gendered Rise of a Precarious Employment Relationship, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
(Editor, with others) Studies in Political Economy: Developments in Feminism, Women's Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
(Editor, with Wallace Clement) Changing Canada: Political Economy as Transformation, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) 2003.
(With Cynthia Cranford, Judy Fudge, and Eric Tucker) Self-employed Workers Organize: Law, Policy, and Unions, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2004.
(Editor, with Jim Stanford) Challenging the Market: The Struggle to Regulate Work and Income McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Educator and author Leah F. Vosko is an associate professor at York University who also serves as principal investigator for the Community University Research Alliance of Contingent Work, based at York University and involving a team drawn from six community groups as well as McMaster University, the University of Quebec at Montreal, George Brown College, and the University of Toronto.
Vosko explores the growth of the temporary employment industry in Canada in her book Temporary Work: The Gendered Rise of the Precarious Employment Relationship. Here she traces the industry's history and development, as well as how corporate use of temporary workers has evolved from hiring a few people to fill in for ill or vacationing employees to staffing entire departments with agency workers on a long-term basis. Vosko points out that much of this shift occurred simultaneously with the post-World War II influx of female, immigrant, and non-white individuals into the work force, and that such workers are treated more as commodities to be bought and sold than as standard employees.
In a review for Resources for Feminist Research Tania Das Gupta stated that "what is particularly valuable in this study is the intertwining of a feminist analysis of this process as the protagonists in this story overwhelmingly emerge as women." She went on to note, however, that while men are becoming much more common within the temporary employment field, "Vosko argues that despite the … trend, the varieties of jobs available for temporary workers are clearly gendered in terms of the division of labour, i.e., who gets to do what kind of job, the kinds of salary and working conditions each has, and the overall feminized character of all temporary work relationships which is based on the old image of the 'Kelly Girl.'" Chris Schenk, writing for Capital and Class, called Vosko's book "the most insightful analysis to date on the rise and evolution of temporary work in Canada," and went on to remark that "activists concerned with the plight of contingent workers and researchers needing to ground their examination of labour market trends will benefit from this study."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Journal of Sociology, January-February 2001, Dr. Jackie Krasas Rogers, review of Temporary Work: The Gendered Rise of a Precarious Employment Relationship.
Capital and Class, autumn, 2001, Chris Schenk, review of Temporary Work: The Gendered Rise of a Precarious Employment Relationship, p. 51.
Labour/Le Travail, spring, 2002, Ester Reiter, review of Temporary Work, p. 277.
Resources for Feminist Research, spring-summer, 2001, Tania Das Gupta, review of Temporary Work, p. 205.