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Title:Of nimble fingers and shy smiles: Effects of employment in transnational factories on the status of Filipino women workers
Author(s):Licuanan, Maria Niza R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Martin, William G.
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:This study was designed to explore the effects of employment in TNC export-oriented factories on the status of Filipino women. The research questions focused on the work conditions of women workers in the TNC factories, changes in family dynamics and degree of workers' autonomy and independence as brought about by factory employment. The study was conducted in a village in the Philippines. Forty-five women factory workers, mothers of 15 selected women workers, and 15 nonworkers of ages comparable to that of the workers were interviewed.
The major findings of the study show that status marginalization and improvement occur simultaneously. Women's status is improved in some aspects of her life, and in some, it is marginalized. As factory workers, women increase their self-esteem by becoming waged workers, and being employed in a job that they consider better than farming or domestic service. At the same time, their involvement in global assembly line work leads to their further subjugation to an expanded patriarchal system that exists both inside and outside of the factory. Women workers become valuable household members due to their significant contributions to the household pooled income. However, the incomes workers contribute to the household do not automatically translate into lesser housework and greater power in the household. In terms of social autonomy, workers alter their behaviors, but these are limited, that is, these will not cause censure from parents or community.
The findings of this research indicate that posing the debate on the effects of global assembly line work on the status of women workers in a marginalization vs. improvement thesis severely limits the analysis of the problem. By merely dichotomizing the effects, the framework fails to account for several changes that occur in women's lives upon involvement in industrial work. The data severely question the explanatory powers of this dichotomized perspective. The failure of the original framework to fully explain the effects of global assembly line on the status of Filipino women workers has opened up new theoretical and empirical questions that need to be addressed further.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Licuanan, Maria Niza R.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543653
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543653

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