Podcast, Social Justice

Women, Work, More: Young Women Navigating Food Service — with Kaitlyn Matulewicz

November 04, 2021
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Women, Work, More kicks off with an investigation into the experiences of young women in the workplace.

Host Alyha Bardi speaks with Kaitlyn Matulewicz, a labour organizer with a background in labour law, who is also the Executive Director of the Worker Solidarity Network. They speak about the unique barriers and harassment experienced by young women working front-of-house positions in the food service and hospitality industry.

Kaitlyn speaks to gendered power dynamics in restaurants, issues around shift scheduling and tip-out practices, and how women workers are pushing back and finding ways to resist the culture of harassment. She also points to examples that set legal precedent for harassment in the workplace, and shouts out the organizing movements working to protect workers and shift power dynamics within the industry.

Woven throughout this episode, we hear stories from anonymized young women currently working in front-of-house positions, as they share their experiences sexual harassment and resistance.

About Our Guest

Kaitlyn Matulewicz

Kaitlyn Matulewicz has a PhD in Law and Society from the University of Victoria.

Her dissertation examined how women restaurant workers' unwanted or uncomfortable sexual interactions with managers, co-workers, and customers are still happening more than three decades after sexual harassment was first named sex discrimination in Canada. She argues that restaurant work in BC is organized in such a way that uncomfortable or unwanted sexual experiences at work are made normal. Her dissertation tells the story of how law is implicated in the construction of such restaurant workplaces within which sexual harassment and unwanted sexual experiences are normalized.

Kaitlyn has seven years of experience working in restaurants. She is the executive director of the Worker Solidarity Network and co-chair of the BC Employment Standards Coalition.


Host & Producer - Alyha Bardi

Audio Editor - Paige Smith

Cover Artist & Secondary Editor - Kathy Feng

Transcriber & Copywriter - Melissa Roach

SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement Director - Am Johal


“Words” by Jason Shaw is licensed under CC BY 3.0
“Drive” by Scanglobe is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
“Industrial Sunrise” by Scanglobe is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
“Transit” by Scanglobe is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Experiences of gendered work are multifaceted. Common concepts like the glass ceiling or the gender wage gap, don’t even come close to scratching the surface of the varying barriers and experiences that women and gender diverse people face within their working lives. From dealing with sexualized work environments, to juggling work and home lives near and far, to retirement — these experiences not only vastly differ from men’s, but also vastly differ for feminized workers across differing social intersections such as age, race, nationality, and more.

To gain a more nuanced perspective, this series, hosted by SFU Labour Studies student Alyha Bardi, documents the lived experiences of women and their relationships with work across varying life stages & social intersections. Each episode features a snapshot-esque look into the lives of a specific group of women workers — starting with young women restaurant workers, then working mothers, then migrant women, with the series culminating on its final episode on senior women. Alongside self-told stories of women workers’ lived experiences, we hear from professors, labour organizers and policy critics as they share their expertise and findings.

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