Inequality Regimes in Grocery Stores: Intersections of Gender, Hierarchies, and Working Conditions




Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Organization & Management


This article explores the extent to which spatial and hierarchical divisions of work in grocery stores intersect with gender, and resulting inequalities in employees’ working conditions. Our empirical basis is individual and group interviews conducted with managers and employees at two grocery stores in Sweden. The theoretical concept of inequality regimes serves as an analytical tool for understanding if and how multiple intersecting processes produce and maintain inequalities in working conditions. The findings show that hierarchical and gendered inequalities are (re)created in the stores, for both permanently and temporarily employed workers. The organizing processes include a functional and gendered division of the workforce together with a division based on terms of employment mainly based on the profit generated by the goods handled in each department. The study shows how spatial divisions related to hierarchy, status, and gender intersect in creating inequalities in employees’ working conditions, career opportunities, and the physical and psycho- social working environment.

Author Biographies

Gunilla Olofsdotter, Mid Sweden University

Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. E-mail:

Malin Bolin, Mid Sweden University

Senior Lecturer, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Svend Erik Mathiassen, University of Gävle

Professor, Department of Occupational Health Science and Psychology


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How to Cite

Olofsdotter, G., Bolin, M., & Mathiassen, S. E. (2023). Inequality Regimes in Grocery Stores: Intersections of Gender, Hierarchies, and Working Conditions. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies.