Gender a Výzkum (Aug 2021)

'In the End They All Have to Turn the Wheel the Same Way': Gender, Age, And Embodiment in the Work of Public Transport Drivers

  • Radka Dudová

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 148 – 177


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The article explores the meanings of gender, embodiment, and ageing in the work of public transport drivers. This profession is been strongly masculinised: men outnumber women and driving has traditionally been understood as men's work. The article asks the following questions: how have the working conditions in this profession changed and what does this mean for the people who perform it and for their interpretations of the work? What does the process of prolonging working lives on one side and technological development on the other bring to this profession? This is a case study of a 'man's job' in the situation where the working population is ageing and technological changes are occurring. The text is based on a qualitative study of drivers of buses, trolleybuses, and trams who are over the age of 50, and it is accompanied by interviews with HR managers and trade union representatives. It contributes to our understanding of the 'embodiment' of work: it shows how specific gendered bodies with their differences are invisible or are regarded as obstacles at work. The embodied workers compare and adapt themselves to the abstract idea of the universal worker, which in reality corresponds to nothing.