Women, Work, and Gender Relations in Developing Countries: A Global Perspective

Women, Work, and Gender Relations in Developing Countries: A Global Perspective

Women, Work, and Gender Relations in Developing Countries: A Global Perspective

Women, Work, and Gender Relations in Developing Countries: A Global Perspective

Synopsis

The chapters in this collection are based on qualitative fieldwork studies and collectively offer the reader a perspective on women, work, and gender relations that is at once multidisciplinary and feminist. Women's work in the household, agriculture, industry, and in the so-called informal sector is explored with a concern for the ways in which gender, class, and ethnicity are constructed by the larger socioeconomic structures in which women live. By taking concrete analyses of women's lives as their point of departure, the contributors to this volume strive to bridge the gap between socio-economic structure of the society and the actual circumstances in which women find themselves. In this way, readers and scholars alike are better able to untangle the complex dynamics of gender relations and to develop strategies for social change.

Excerpt

Over the past decade, study of work has dealt with the most sensitive and important problems of social life. Considerable change in the nature of work has occurred, and this increasingly complex field of study has been covered by many theories and research, gradually building up an impressive body of knowledge. The growth of new intellectual approaches has provided fresh answers to the old questions and raised novel issues as legitimate areas of investigation. One of the most important additions as well as challenges to the study of work comes from the growing interest in women's work. Feminist scholars have shown that although women have always engaged in productive activities, women and women's work have long remained invisible. As well, the terms under which they participate in the labor force continue to be a considerable problem.

Feminist studies have demonstrated that women's invisibility and their unequal treatment are not limited to studies of the labor market, but exist in all areas of social science and society. Feminist scholars have criticized and reevaluated existing social science theories, discovered new concepts, established interdisciplinary linkages, and created new sociological paradigms. They criticized research and theories on work for ignoring the experience of women as women and for downplaying women's experience as workers. Academic disciplines were questioned, sometimes in their most basic self-conceptions and categories. The result has been a massive amount of literature and an increasing specialization within the field of women's . . .

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