From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The editors present a series of articles on the consequences of globalization on the lives of millions of women (now greatly outnumbering men) as they leave the poverty of Third World countries to seek employment in domestic services for affluent women in First World countries. Ehrenreich and Hochschild report that in the post-Communist world, career-oriented, upper-middle-class women of wealthy nations and striving, adventurous women from crumbling poverty come together as mistress and maid. Focusing on more than the traditional movement of labor on the basis of supply and demand, the articles in this anthology explore the ramifications of this transfer of caring skills as it affects the culture in both poor and wealthy countries. Also considered is the enormous rise in the sex trade, both voluntary and coerced. While immigrant domestic labor is nothing new, the various authors from academia and some with personal experience shed new light on this reality. Mary Whaley
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