Making Ends Meet: Income-Generating Strategies among Mexican Immigrants

By Socorro Torres Sarmiento | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Tzintzuntzeño Women and
Income-Generating Strategies

Research by Fernandez-Kelly (1983, 1992, 1997), Crummet (1993), Ruiz (1987, 1998), Stephen, (1991), Hondagneu-Sotelo (1994), and others have challenged the common conception of Mexican migrant women as passive victims of macro-structural processes. FernandezKelly argues how the stereotypical notion of Latin American women as “conservative, apathetic and totally dependent individuals has been questioned through empirical research” She notes how research findings has pointed out how “women (particularly, poverty-stricken women) actively contribute to the maintenance of their dependents” (Fernandez-Kelly 1987:15). An important contribution of the social sciences in this area is the concept that women are the main actors in the reproduction of labor force. This directs us to end with the dichotomy analysis of private and public spheres,1 and to take a closer observation of the interdependence that exists between productive and reproductive aspects of women labor (Lamphere, 1987; Stephen, 1991). Observing from this perspective, Fernandez- Kelly notes:

At every stage of their lives most women participate in
productive economic activities, either within or outside of their
home, even though this fact has been seldom acknowledge by
official economic indicators. This opens the possibility for a rich
assessment of households as the locus where domestic labor
subsidizes the generation of capitalist profits (Fernandez-Kelly,
1983:17).

This chapter examines Tzintzuntzeño women's economic participation, both as salaried and domestic labor in three different

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