Dignity and Daily Bread: New Forms of Economic Organising among Poor Women in the Third World and the First

By Sheila Rowbotham; Swasti Mitter | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Conclusion

Sheila Rowbotham and Swasti Mitter

Each contribution in Dignity and Daily Bread reveals both the extent of the obstacles faced by women workers in employment and the innovatory organisational initiatives which they have taken to counteract them.

Both historically and in the present, a convergence of factors leaves women workers particularly vulnerable. Gender inequality combines with inequalities of race and class. Overcoming these positions of weakness has never been an easy matter even for a workforce that is formally organised, for, as Radha Kumar shows, gender inequalities have been persistently present in trade unions. In the context of new ways of organising, Kumudhini Rosa describes a dilemma which faces the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) women. As a workforce, women's main attraction to investors has been that they are cheap and supposedly docile. Being organised, they thus court the risk of multinational capital simply moving on to countries and sites with no history of labour organisation.

It became apparent during the 1980s that increased vulnerability to capital is not simply a problem facing newly industrialised FTZ women workers, for labour-intensive sweated forms of production were arising amidst capital intensive technological development. The incongruity is particularly apparent in the clothing industry where new technology, as Silvia Tirado explains, gets applied selectively.

The desperation of low-paid workers without highly marketable skills crowding into a sweated trade is not just a contemporary phenomenon, as Sheila Rowbotham shows. However, it arises now at a new conjuncture in which the relation between the state, labour and the market is in the throes of a fundamental realignment.

In the early twentieth century in Britain, politicians and large employers became convinced that a state-regulated, officially organised workforce was not only ethically preferable but likely to be more competitive and socially less volatile. There was an acceptance of a new phase in industrial development by large capitalists like Mond and Cadbury and by politicians and civil servants like Churchill and Beveridge. Likewise, many social reformers and feminists became convinced that it would be better to reduce the numbers of the sweated poor in paid work and safeguard the health of mothers by extending state welfare. This approach to poverty formed the ideological underpinning to the post-war welfare

-218-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dignity and Daily Bread: New Forms of Economic Organising among Poor Women in the Third World and the First
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 242

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?