Edited by Jean L. Pyle and Robert Forrant
Chapter 5: Sex, Maids, and Export Processing: Risks and Reasons for Gendered Global Production Networks
5. Sex, maids, and export processing: risks and reasons for gendered global production networks1 Jean L. Pyle I. INTRODUCTION Increasing numbers of women have become sex workers, maids or domestics, and workers in export production networks – all largely female sectors – in order to earn incomes in the restructured global economy. Many must migrate domestically and internationally to obtain these types of jobs. These industries have expanded throughout the past three decades and span the globe, occurring in ever widening areas of the developing world as well as in the so-called industrialized countries. Women in these three sectors encounter a wide range of risks. They have few rights and little security. They typically experience low wages, no beneﬁts, long hours, harassment, considerable health hazards and lack of rights in their workplaces. Since these women are not only present-day workers but also reproducers of the next generation of workers, these conditions aﬀect growth possibilities in the future as well as impact on the current economic conditions of households and nations. However, in spite of their substantial economic importance to their countries, these women are still largely invisible – from national income accounts and from recent discussions by power brokers on the international scene (leaders of the G-7 or the heads of the World Bank or International Monetary Fund) about how to stabilize the international economy and deal with economically troubled nations. In addition, the forces behind the growth of women’s work in these three sectors have not been systematically analysed. Several...
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