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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 8, 2019

The Technologies of Discrimination: How Platforms Cultivate Gender Inequality

  • Arianne Renan Barzilay EMAIL logo


The changes created by platform-facilitated labor are considered fundamental challenges to the future of work. As more data accumulates on gender discrimination in online platforms, this Article explores how inequality is cultivated by platforms in the gig economy. Looking at technological architecture as organizational structure, this essay bridges a gap between three bodies of scholarship that have not yet been in conversation but considering them together is necessary if we are to think about gender equality in platform-facilitated labor. The first concerns data driven discrimination, the second concerns the role of platform affordances and the third concerns organizational policies. These point to the gender inequality regime that platforms may enact. Thus, the Article theoretically contributes to unpacking platforms’ role in perpetuating and institutionalizing gender inequality. Finally, it offers some suggestions on the ways in which law, policy and technology can disrupt the institutionalization of gender inequality in platform-facilitated labor.


My thanks and gratitude go to Anat Ben-David, Dan Feldman, Ayelet Gordon, Eldar Haber, Laura Kessler, Tamar Kricheli-Katz, Shelley Kreitzer-Levy, Guy Mundlak, Orna Rabinovich-Einy, Noya Rimalt, and Tal Zarsky for productive discussions along my quest to unpack the multidimensional problem of gender inequality in platform-facilitated labor. I am indebted to Gila Stopler for her generous support, patience, flexibility, and helpful comments, and to Michele Manspeizer and the editorial staff of the journal of Law & Ethics of Human Rights for their hard work and valuable suggestions. Thanks also to the external reader for additional comments. Finally, my appreciation goes to my research assistances: Gabriel Focshaner, Hagar Ronen, and Itai Zoref.

Published Online: 2019-12-08
Published in Print: 2019-11-18

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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