The gig economy - an avenue to women's economic empowerment?
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Drawing on administrative data, surveys and experimental studies, this paper explores the question whether the platform economy is an avenue to women’s economic empowerment. Low entry barriers and flexibility have enabled the labour market entry of those who can only work from home and other marginalised groups. The gig economy may be more inclusive, but certainly not any fairer than traditional labour markets. Global online markets and digitized reputation create winner-takes-all dynamics which exclude many workers from accessing work irrespective of their qualifications. The three-sided markets are ridden with information and power asymmetries that exacerbate the vulnerabilities of precarious workers. Online labour markets are highly segregated and reproduce divides along gender, class and ethnicity lines. Women are overrepresented in the lowest-paying jobs associated with at times exploitative working conditions. The gig economy fails to provide equal pay for equal work. Online and offline, women face trade-offs over working time, charge less for their work and face significant negative bias in counter-stereotypical occupations.