Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

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April 4th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Although I have read “Nannies Maids and Sex Workers” before, it continues to surprise me every time. The article, written by Ehrenreich and Hochschild discusses the globalization of women and the gender revolution. It has been increasingly shown that immigrants – legal and illegal – who come to first world countries to find jobs to support their families are more than half the time women. This is a more recent trend, as “fewer families can rely solely on a male breadwinner.” Among the different occupations, nannies, maids, and sex workers are mentioned in the article. Nowadays, workers such as maids and nannies no longer express power, but are thrust into invisibility so as to support the ‘do-it-all mom.’ The story of Josephine Perera begins the article, as it talks about the child to nannies in the US and her children back home she supports who are struggling without her. It has been documented that women are more likely than men to send home their wages. On average women send home between half and all of what they earn. It is a continuous battle as they fight to support their families but physically cannot be there for them. Yet, the reason for migration, “relative and absolute” poverty,” forces them into that life.
The nannies maids and sex workers all have in common an essence of “caring work.” This can be explained by examining the reason for importing sex workers: First World employers see immigrants as “caregivers” even in their practice as sex workers which mean feel nostalgic toward and yearn for. It should be mentioned though, that many sex workers are brought into the field against their will. They are promised jobs and afterward discover they have been kidnapped and owe a “debt”, only to be repaid through sex work.
This article shows that the poor countries rely on the rich countries AND  vice versa; it is not a one way street.

On the news report “The Wealth Gap,” Brian Lehrer interviewed Mariko Chang on her book which describes the wealth gap. She states that for every dollar held by white families, families of colour have only sixteen cents. The wealth gap, she claims can be sub-grouped into the gender wealth gap: women of colour are in a worse situation than both men of colour and the average woman. The average African American woman has just one hundred dollars of wealth and the average Hispanic woman has 120 dollars. Wealth is defined by Chang as total assets subtracted by debt. Why is there such a gender wealth gap? Women of colour are less likely to have jobs with benefits and to have an inheritance.

Both “Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers” and “The Wealth Gap” show the increasing inequality women of colour or women from other countries face when looking for occupation. In the United States which claims equality, shouldn’t these women be given opportunity rather than suffering?

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1    Prof. Hala // Apr 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Discussing these articles and their findings together is very instructive, in that it adds another layer of inequality into the picture. As “poor” as American women of color are in comparison to white women and men of color, they are still far more “wealthy” than their migrant worker and undocumented counterparts who work as nannies, maids and sex workers. And by one noneconomic measure, they are far more fortunate: American can be with their own children, unlike the female migrants who must leave them and raise other children — for money to support their children.

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