Women’s Work and Labor Issues Essay

It has been known that throughout many centuries the women’s role was to provide domestic care in the household.

During the nineteenth century, modification was in the air and the industrial revolution involved the movement of labor and resources away from agriculture and towards manufacturing industries was in progress. As a result many women were moving from domestic life to the industrial world. The family economy was replaced by a new patriarchy which saw women moving from the small, safe world of family and home-based work to larger factories and sweatshops. Prior to these changes, career options were limited for women.The wife’s work was often alongside her husband, running a plantation or farm and the household. Cooking for the household took a lot of the time out of the day, after the revolution the women’s work was even more as she had to provide prime care for her children and household as well as work. Labor systems divided immigrant workers by ethnicity so that the experience of European ethnic groups would be different from that of non-European ethnic groups.

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In the middle of the nineteenth century there was an increase in the migration of women from their homelands; which were Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.They became an essential part of a migrant surge which was responding to the call for cheap and willing labor in numerous parts of the country. (Glenn, Evelyn) For immigrant women who migrated to North America initially to work, found that they had become settlers and their main priorities became their families and the provision of a comforting environment to their surrounding communities. Male members of families earned very low wages to support their families; which allowed women’s labor to become the main source for the family’s survival.These women manufactured goods that were to be consumed by their families; they were forced to balance out domestic chores and the raising of their children and also their work. Immigrant women had a difficult time with many things, as they dealt with barriers such as language, manufacturing skills, and the many responsibilities they have in their households as they struggled to maintain their cultural traditions. These women had to leave their homes to look for waged employment. They also faced race-and-gender stratified labor that forced them to the most degraded and lowest paid jobs.

Domestic service was the most common employment for these women, which gave them long working hours with a heavy workload and a lack of freedom. Low status employments were not encouraged to the high class women of Europe which was easily available to migrants. (Glenn, Evelyn) Diversity among immigrant women who do domestic work in the United States and the workers experiences can be explained by the loss of manufacturing jobs and the increased need for service workers. Domestic services are not needed only for the wealthy but also the elderly and working parents.These appeals create new incentives as well as problems for working women. It is a classic case of immigrant “dirty work”, which is work that is unreasonably demeaning.

Despite their lack of experience the human capital resources failed to intervene. (Salzinger, Leslie) The role of immigrant women in the United States is something that has not been noticed as these women have played a role in the development of societies, although they have been viewed as being ‘cheap hands’ by the type of labor they have carried out does not mean that their work should be discriminated against.As conditions of the living and working of the maquila that were a majority of women, were extremely low and harsh this did not prevent them from finding jobs as they were in desperate need of work. (Dwyer, Augusta) Women who have migrated to different countries to work in the sex industry do so due to economic reasons, case study being Thai women migrating to Japan to work in the sex industry. Economic conditions in Japan and Thailand affect women’s decisions to work in Japan in order to support themselves and their families who remain in Thailand. There are immigration laws which also play a part in the decision made by these women.The degree, to which a woman will be exploited in Japan, is determined by the quality of information she is given before migration which seems to determine the aspect in which she migrated and found work.

(Watenabe, Satoko)Women throughout history have fought for freedom and equality rights. The ability to go out and work outside of the home; yet, this has always been the case for all women transnationally. There has always been equity not only on sex roles but also in difference of class and ethnicity as that also has an effect on the different types of work they will work.

There has always been a taking advantage of the low class workers and laborers and even more if they are foreign. Work and labor issues that involve the transnational perspective are both interconnected as they both deal with the global context of their disposition. Regardless of the differences in experiences these women all shared the same ideology, which was that they were all viewing situations from a transnational perspective. This allowed them to have a much clearer understanding in interest to the possibly different ways they could identify the diversity they were to assimilate to.This allowed the acceptance of cultural norms; the reason being that there is no causable action that can be undermined that would be left unnoticed. The importance of feminists analyzing situations from a transnational perspective is the allowance of a much clearer form of understanding the experience and situations that others go through are different forms of exploitation whether it being sexuality, gender, race and economic in context of the world as a whole, which has emerged from global capitalism. This is shown in women’s work and labor concern by women being exploited.In servitude women were abused by their workload and those who were struggling economically were left no option but to turn to the sex industry, in which they were also exploited.

References:-Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. “Women and Labor Migration” in Grewal and Kaplan, 444-449. -Salzinger, Leslie. “A Maid by Any Other Name” The Transformation of ‘Dirty Work’ by Central American Immigrants” in Grewal and Kaplan, 449-453. -Watenabe, Satoko. “From Thailand to Japan; Migrant Sex Workers as Autonomous Subjects” in Grewal and Kaplan, 458-462.

-Dwyer, Augusta. “Welcome to the Border” in Grewal and Kaplan, 463-466.


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