Reclaiming agency: managing problematic menstruation in precarious research workplaces

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This study examines the multifaceted nature of precariousness, emphasizing the interplay between employment, gender-specific health issues, and broader social conditions. It critically assesses how fieldwork-based jobs, often linked to short-term funded projects, and early career positions, affect job security and workers' agency. We discuss how these factors particularly impact the participation of women and other marginalised groups to the research and innovation workforce, further increasing inequalities in the knowledge production space. A significant contribution of this research is its focus on the overlooked and stigmatised aspects of women's health, especially problematic menstruation and the implications in the context of precarious employment. Further, this intersectional study explores how managing menstrual health at work intersects with other factors, including ethnicity, disability, neurodiversity, age and sexuality. By integrating these factors, the research provides a comprehensive view of precariousness as a spectrum of social conditions experienced differently in research and innovation challenging workspaces.
Our research, based on extensive interviews with over 40 workers in unconventional job settings, including extreme fieldwork locations, reveals how flexible working patterns encourage workers’ agency by, for example, allowing people who menstruate to manage their workload around their menstrual cycle. Further, we explain how delegating tasks is often not possible in precarious jobs, thus worsening the working conditions of those who experience problematic menstruation. The aim of this study is to co-design workplace interventions with stakeholders by shaping individual and collective strategies to navigate and resist precarious conditions. Our research empowers marginalised workers to reclaim agency in their work environment by offering an inclusive and nuanced understanding of precariousness, foregrounding the importance of considering gender and health in employment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2024
Event16th European Sociological Association Conference: Tension, Trust and Transformation - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 26 Aug 202430 Aug 2024


Conference16th European Sociological Association Conference
Abbreviated titleESA24
Internet address


  • Menstrual Health
  • precarious employment
  • Fieldwork
  • agency


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