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Rebecca Selberg

Rebecca Selberg

Associate senior lecturer

Rebecca Selberg

Scheduling conflicts in the low-wage labor force: the case of Swedish and US women


  • Rebecca Selberg
  • Irene Padavic
  • Katherine Tindell

Summary, in English

By comparing the work-hours-related experiences of women in two countries that differ in their labor protections and their social-service provision—in other words, that differ in the extent to which neoliberalism holds sway—this manuscript sheds light on the implications of neoliberalism in terms of women’s working conditions.

Specifically, we analyze the protections offered by each country that constrain employers’ ability to change work schedules unilaterally, on short notice, and arbitrarily; we analyze the constraints the states put on minimum pay; and we analyze the safety-net provisions in each country that enable workers to work for pay while raising a family and maintaining a decent living standard.

We are in the process of conducting 30 in-depth interviews with low-wage working women in both countries, with 15 US and 4 Swedish interviews completed and analyzed so far and the remainder to be completed this spring.

Findings indicate that Swedish women face fewer scheduling problems and, thanks to a more generous social-services system, face fewer negative effects stemming from scheduling and low wages.

Neoliberalism presents a moral culture based on the concept of personal responsibility; at the ontological level, it presents a rejection of the social at any level larger than the immediate family. While Sweden is no utopia—its programs leave many people, particularly immigrants, in perilous working conditions, and its safety net has holes—it has withstood the neoliberal tide better than has the US.


  • Department of Gender Studies

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Economics and Business
  • Sociology

Conference name

American Sociological Association, Annual Meeting

Conference date

2019-08-10 - 2019-08-13

Conference place

New York, United States