‘It’s not only what we say but what we do’: Pay inequalities and gendered workplace democracy in Argentinian worker cooperatives.
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In a study conducted by the author in 2006 of five mixed-sex, worker-led cooperatives in Buenos Aires, all of the workers in each of the coops were paid exactly the same. Five years later, only two of the worker cooperatives – both dominated by women – came even close to maintaining the same pay for everyone. The other three cooperatives, all dominated by male workers, had instituted hierarchical pay scales which paralleled a concomitant decrease in workplace democracy. An increase in pay inequities and a decrease in worker democracy went together; moreover, the two paralleled an increasingly inhospitable workplace for women. This article addresses two, interconnected, questions: How did this intertwining of pay and worker democracy happen, and more specifically, how was this process gendered?