Working upon the description of the violence

By Hozan Mahmood
Curator: Avan Omar

The seminar is prepared for Avan Omar’s (These People Are Working) project. I endeavour to highlight the concept of work, searching for work and working itself as a form of violence against women.

I argue that wage labour under capitalism is synonymous with violence, insecurity, precarity and long working hours. In addition to discipline, surveillance and control. Silvia Fredrichi’s feminist scholar’s idea of work as a form violence, is very helpful to understand the capitalist accumulation of wealth, and the kind of jobs women are performing which could be seen as violence against them.

I also highlight the problem with idealising work and how we are taught, socialised and indoctrinated that our value and being, exist only in working/career, especially for women who are under tremendous pressure in the labour market. While women have always been working both at home, in caring duties (mostly voluntarily) and outside of homes, they have to compete and prove that they are good and fit for the labour market to earn a wage.
Finally, I elaborate on jobs itself and what constitute a high-status job or low-status jobs and why? Who decides what jobs are good and what jobs are un important? In most societies various jobs are essential and much needed for life, but they are not considered as good jobs, hence the pay is minimum and women constitute a large number of these jobs. While various other jobs which are useless and have no positive impact on our lives are highly paid and considered important jobs. Drawing from professor of anthropology David Graber’s (bullshit jobs) theory we find out that many of those high paid jobs are not essential and needed, yet they are more valued and paid better.

artist pic

Hozan Mahmood is a feminist writer, activist, and co-founder of Culture Project, a transnational project formed to raise awareness about feminism in Kurdistan and amongst its diaspora. Mahmoud has an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London. She curated and edited the recently published book Kurdish Women’s Stories, and was awarded the 2016 Emma Humphrey’s Memorial Award - the award recognising women who work against male violence.