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Global Woman


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In a world shaped by mass migration and economic exchange on an ever-increasing scale, women are moving around the globe as never before. This anthology examines the unexplored consequences of globalization on the lives of women worldwide.

About the Author

Barbara Ehrenreich writes regularly for Time, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine and various British newspapers including The Times and the Guardian. She lives in Florida. Arlie Hochschild is professor of sociology and co-director at the Centre for Working Families at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Managed Heart, The Second Shift, and The Time Bind.


The current discourse on globalization, according to the authors, has little to say about the "migration of maids, nannies, nurses, sex workers, and contract brides," since, to most economists, these women "are just individuals making a go of it." The positive effects of their labor are sometimes noted: the money they remit to home countries is a major source of foreign exchange, and the work they do in the host country enables a large pool of upwardly mobile First World women to pursue productive careers. The negative consequences, which can include emotional hardships caused by leaving children behind as well as physical strains, are rarely acknowledged. Social critics Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) and Hochschild (The Time Bind) point out that in previous centuries the developed world imported natural resources, and now the import du jour is women, ideally, "happy peasant" women who can care for the elderly and disabled, lovingly raise children and provide sexual services for men. The editors have gathered some 15 essays on aspects of "the female underside of globalization"-e.g., Filipina housekeepers in Hong Kong, Latina domestic workers in Los Angeles, sexual slaves in Thailand, Vietnamese contract brides-mostly written by academics working in the field, but largely jargon-free. While one small book can't say everything about a major global phenomenon, Ehrenreich and Hochschild have at least brought attention to these women's plight. Maps not seen by PW. (Jan. 6) Forecast: This important book should find a place for itself among scholars of globalization, migration studies and women's studies. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

This is an honest account of the ever-increasing trend for women from Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, Mexico and other Third World countries to migrate to the First World. This quest for a better way of life is not often rewarded, as the grim truth of the matter is that most of these women become maids, sex-workers or even mail-order brides. Global Woman not only demonstrates the detrimental effects of globalisation on women, but also discusses the effects on the children taken overseas and on the families left behind. There are some shocking personal tales recounted - real-life Cinderella sagas but without the happy ending, some especially harrowing from a Western point of view. Ehrenreich and Hochschild argue that these women now represent the Third World's main resource for exportation.

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