Devalued women, valued men: motherhood, class and neoliberal feminism in the creative media industries

Tamsyn Dent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


This article contributes to the literature on gender inequality in the creative workforce. Motherhood has been attributed as a determining factor of female under-employment or unequal representation in the creative industries, a problematic claim that distracts attention from operational excluding structures. The article considers why motherhood has become an identified explanation for female under-representation by considering the question: what sort of mother are we referring to when we talk of the creative worker? Revising the genealogy of literature on maternal practice from second wave up to recent concepts of neoliberal feminism, this article explores how class-based practices associated with motherhood have an influence on how all women are valued as creative workers. This is in direct contrast to men whose employment value increases following parenthood. The term ‘value’ explores how individual choices emerge in response to wider structural issues, providing a framework to consider the relationship between gender and class in the context of the neoliberal, creative industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-553
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • class
  • creative labour
  • motherhood
  • neoliberal feminism
  • value


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