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Gender in the gig economy: Men and women using digital platforms to secure work in Australia

This article explores the characteristics, experiences, and motivations of men and women who secure work through digital platforms. Drawing on quantitative survey data – the first of its kind – of Australian men (n = 251) and women (n = 253) it finds that the gig economy, much like the wider economy, is highly gender-segregated. Men dominate platforms which specialise in what might be considered traditionally male tasks like transport and women dominate platforms which specialise in more traditional female tasks like caring. The results suggest that the gig economy may be an alternative for women in the creative industries. Men and women are both drawn to the gig economy for income-related reasons, despite a significant proportion of them holding a job outside the gig economy. Flexibility was an important motivator for both genders, but women were more likely than men to report that they did gig work because it ‘fitted with their schedule’, indicating that non-work commitments such as family constrain women more than men. More men than women reported that gig work was effective in generating income.