How has globalization worked for women working on the frontlines of neoliberalism on the Mexico-US border? This border divides "US" from "Others," and produces social inequalities that form a site where marginalized border women encounter the othering power of neoliberalism and confront inequalities of gender and class. Within this context, a critical comparison of socially similar women, working either in export production industries or in small-scale commerce and low-level services in Ciudad Juárez, reveals how export factory work constrains women’s empowerment at home – as well as the wages they earn and the well-being of their households. This volume challenges the neoliberal rationale of "empowering" women to support market growth, and argues instead for understanding women’s empowerment as a process of transformation from disempowerment by gender power relations to challenging masculinist domination in households and, ultimately, the economy and society. Because structures of gender and globalization are mutually constituted, women’s empowerment as gender democracy is integral to producing alternative, democratic globalization. Using a feminist methodology that gives attention to the standpoint of women located on the downside of social hierarchies and takes into account strategically diverse points of view, this study develops analysis to counter neoliberal globalization as it touches down in the lives of ordinary women and men on the border and beyond.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Political Economy of Globalization and Its Alternatives: A Gendered Analysis 2. Mexico’s Neoliberal Political Economy - In Place in Ciudad Juárez 3. Analyzing Mexican Women’s Work and Empowerment in the Household Setting 4. Strategizing for Household Survival 5. Engaging in Feminized Work 6. Claiming Empowerment at Home. Conclusion. Appendix: Cuestionario - Las Mujeres y el Trabajo en Ciudad Juárez.
Gay Young is Associate Professor of Sociology at American University, and was Director of AU’s Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies for eight years.