Ehrenreich%20&%20Hoch...,%20GlobalWoman

Ehrenreich%20&%20Hoch...,%20GlobalWoman - ND DIFFERENCE...

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Unformatted text preview: ND DIFFERENCE 1nd Cultural Organj. as and masculinitie; ice: Report ofexpen ember 1997. Paris: gramme. Culture of thy. Oxford, UK: 15,- Male your/1 cu]. Allen & Unwjn, 9"” World-system; is offhe European “’“W New York: ill construction of Wider order; Crib VIichael A. Mess— Paign, IL: Human tnlichkeiten. Vol. "flesh: Sexual d1- ston: Beacon, ransitional soci— Dns'” PapEr pre. 65 in Southern 111.Durban, 5 0 Z6 ‘19 6d twee) am, Gait/[25; Global Woman BARBARA EHRENREICH ARLIE RUSSELL HOCHSCHILD “Whose baby are you?" Josephine Perera, a nanny from Sri Lanka, asks Isadora, her pudgy two-year-old charge in Athens, Greece. Thoughtful for a moment, the child glances toward the closed door of the next room, in which her mother is working, as if to say, “That’s my mother in there.” “No, you’re my baby,” Josephine teases, tickling Isadora lightly. Then, to settle the issue, Isadora an- swers, “Together!” She has two mommies—her mother and Josephine. And surely a child loved by many adults is richly blessed. In some ways, Josephine’s story—which unfolds in an extraordinary documentary film, When Mother Comes Home for Christmas, directed by Nilita Vachani—describes an unparalleled success. Jose- phine has ventured around the world, achieving a de- gree of independence her mother could not have iniag— ined, and amply supporting her three children with no help from her ex-husband, their father. Each month she mails a remittance check from Athens to Hatton, Sri Lanka, to pay the children’s living expenses and school fees. On her Christmas visit home, she bears gifts of pots, pans, and dishes. While she makes payments on a new bus that Suresh, her oldest son, now drives for a living, she is also saving for a modest dowry for her daughter, Norma. She dreams of buying a new house in which the whole family can live. In the meantime, her work as a nanny enables Isadora’s parents to devote themselves to their careers and avocations. But Josephine’s story is also one of wrenching global inequality. While Isadora enjoys the attention of three adults, Josephine’s three children in Sri Lanka have been far less lucky. According to Vachani, Josephine’s youngest child, Suminda, was two— Isadora’s age—when his mother first left home to work in Saudi Arabia. Her middle child, Norma, was nine; her oldest son, Suresh, thirteen. From Saudi Ara- bia, Josephine found her way first to Kuwait, then to Greece. Except for one two-month trip home, she has lived apart from her children for ten years. She writes them Weekly letters, seeking news of relatives, asking about school, and complaining that Norma doesn‘t write back. Although Josephine left the children under her sis~ ter’s supervision, the two youngest have shown signs of real distress. Norma has attempted suicide three times. Suminda, who was twelve when the film was made, boards in a grim, Dickensian orphanage that forbids talk during meals and shOWers. He visits his aunt on holidays. Although the oldest, Suresh, seems “Global Woman" from “Global Woman". by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russel] Hochschild. Copyright © 2002 by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russel] Hochschild. Reprinted by permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. 49 50 by living apart from them. Unlike h World employers, she cannot both liv and support it. Thanks to the process we lo tion,” women are on the move tory. In images familiar to the commercials for credit cards, cel female executives jet about the from luxury hotels and reuniting e with her family osely call “globaliza- as never before in his- West from television 1 phones, and airlines, world, phoning home s nannies, maids, and In the absence of help from men have succeeded in tough careers only by turning over the care of elderly parents, and homes to women World. This is the female underside of male partners, many wo “male world” their children, from the Third globalization, work" of the north—work that affluent women are no longer able or willing to do. These migrant workers often leave their own children in the care of grand- mothers, sisters, and sisters—in-law. Sometimes a young daughter is drawn out of school to care for her younger siblings. This pattern of female migration reflects what could be called a world—wide coequal earners in more than half (Gallinsky and Friedman 1995). So the question children, the sick, the arises: Who will take care of the nannies from the Phili s end up in the control of passports stolen, their mobili work without pay in brothels o with cleaning and child- women in the First Worldfirole ously rejected, of course, by m mute" entails a cost we have y nies and maids are often hidden aw time, behind closed doors in pn'vat of the illegal nature of their work, PERSPECTIVES ON SEX, GENDER, AND DIFFERENC [0 be on good terms with his mother, Norma is tearful ppines, Sri Lanka, and and sullen, and Suminda does poorly in school, pick ' ‘ fortunate migrant woman criminal em ployerse—their ty blocked, forced to r to provide sex along en. And their “com- et to fully comprehend. ay, one or two at a 6 homes. Because Cantu Ill OMAN but by apparently “doing it all"¥produc— 8 career, thriving children, a contented a well—managed home. In order to pre- musion, domestic workers and nannies use hotel~roorn perfect, feed and bathe the k and clean up—and then magically fade .n; | styles of the First World are made pogsible transfer of the services associated with a tionai role—child care, home—making, and .1... poor countries to rich ones, To generalize s oversimplify: in an earlier phase of impeq :Funfiflg rthem countries extracted natural resources rgh—in . _ nil-31 productS—rubber, metals, and sugar, 6 hemp " led—from lands they conquered and colo- [ their in P u y, while still relying on Third World coun- ‘hgricultural and industrial labor, the wealthy also seek to extract something harder to mea— lflis so far quantify, something that can look very much my 3]" “3 Nannies like Josephine bring the distant fam- m Cvoriugh employ them real maternal affection, no t [ em anced by the heartbreaking absence of their 0 the r .. hildreri in the poor countries they leave behind. fly, women who migrate from country to coun- 1Work as maids bring not only their muscle power he ‘ - m. imam II attentiveness to detail and to the human rela- fg “[5 ps in the household that might otherwise have te in large n invested in their own families. Sex workers offer ulation of sexual and romantic love, or at least at sexual companionship It is as if the wealthy , of the world are running short on precious emo- and sexual resources and have had to turn to - regions for fresh supplies. re are plenty of historical precedents for this __ ' ation of traditional female services. In the an- t'Middle East, the women of populations defeated . one 01" [we 1‘ hOmes. Becau 0 culture of indi xpression in ' leedging help “y kind. Thus, ousehold workers and concubines for the victors. tag the Africans brought to North America as fies in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, t a third were women and children, and many of se‘ women were pressed to be concubines, domestic pants, or both. Nineteenth-century Irishwomen— 113 with many rural Englishwomen—migrated to J glish towns and cities to work as domestics in the tires of the growing upper middle class. Services creasingly earn 3’ might have a 51 thought to be innately feminine—child care, house- work, and sex—Loften win little recognition or pay. But they have always been sufficiently in demand to trans- port over long distances if necessary. What is new today is the sheer number of female migrants and the very long distances they travel. immigration statistics show huge numbers of women in motion, typically from poor countries to rich. Although the gross statis- tics give little clue as to the jobs women eventually take, there are reasons to infer that much of their work is “caring work,” performed either in private homes or in institutional settings such as hospitals, hospices, child-care centers, and nursing homes. The statistics are, in many ways, frustrating. We have information on legal migrants but not on illegal migrants, who, experts tell us, travel in equal if not greater numbers. Furthermore, many Third World countries lack data for past years, which makes it hard to trace trends over time; or they use varying methods of gathering information, which makes it hard to com- pare one country with another. Nevertheless, the trend is clear enough for some scholars . . . to speak of a “feminization of migration." From 1950 to 1970, for example, men predominated in labor migration to northern Europe from Turkey, Greece, and North Africa. Since then, women have been replacing men. In 1946, women were fewer than 3 percent of the Al- gerians and Moroccans living in France; by 1990, they were more than 40 percent. Overall, half of the world’s 120 million legal and illegal migrants are now be- lieved to be women. Patterns of international migration vary from region to region, but women migrants from a surprising num— ber of sending countries actually outnumber men, sometimes by a wide margin. For example, in the 19905, women make up over half of Filipino migrants to all countries and 84 percent of Sri Lankan migrants to the Middle East. Indeed, by 1993 statistics, Sri Lankan women such as Josephine vastly outnumbered Sri Lankan men as migrant workers who’d left for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, Jor- dan, and Qatar, as well as to all countries of the Far East, Africa, and Asia. About half of the migrants leaving Mexico, India, Korea, Malaysia, Cyprus, and Swazi- land to work elsewhere are also women. Throughout the 19905 women outnumbered men among migrants i 52 to the United States, Canada, Sweden, the United King dom, Argentina, and Israel. Most Women, like men, migrate from the south to the north and from poor countries to rich ones. Typi- cally, migrants go to the nearest comparatively rich of the regional or cross-regional flows, four stand out. One goes from Southeast Asia to the oil-rich Middle and Far East—fifrom Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philip- pines, and Sri Lanka to Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. Another stream of migration goes from the former Soviet bloc to western Europe—from Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania to Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and England. A third goes from south to north in the Americas, including the stream from Mexico to the United States, which scholars say is the longest- running labor migration in the world. A fourfl'r stream moves from Africa to various parts of Europe. France receives many female migrants from Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Italy receives female workers from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Cape Verde. Female migrants overwhelmingly take up work as who accounted for 60 percent of domestics in the 19403, have been largely replaced by Latinas, many of them recent migrants from Mexico and Central Amer- centage had jumped to 52, with most coming from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Argentina, Colom- bia, Brazil, El Salvador, and Peru. The governments of some sending countries tively encourage women to migrate in search of do- lives of children, parents, siblings, and wider networks of kin—as well as on cash-strapped Third World gov, ernments. Thus, before Josephine left for Athens, a program sponsored by the Sri Lankan government Afler much hardship, such rfifiiculr times How lucky 1am to work in aforeign land. After much hardship, such dlfiiculr times, How lucky I am to work in aforefgn land. In broad outline, this explanation holds true. Throughout western Europe, Taiwan, and Japan, but above all in the United States, England, and Sweden, women’s employment has increased dramatically since the 19705. In the United States, for example. the proportion of women in paid work rose from 15 per- cent of mothers of children six and under in 1950 to 65 percent today. Women now make up 46 percent of the GLOBAL‘ eighteen 3“ children 3% thermom, 2 Organizatfl longer hOUI the 19705. Spent at W0 men, and e: fessionaljC Meanwl countries b have becor poorer. Gli gunngln Filipina do She could r pines. In at or World I take meas with disast poor womt emments a cies, whicl into gold into straw. for cuts in and for the care and it countries, incentive t world. But it w tion of wt: among WU needing he jobs. For t for the ma meet the n workforce degree, wt a “deadbez world, the care for W ily and me revolts int he librarie AN der and nearly two-thirds of mothers of time and younger now work for pay. Fur- rding to a recent International Labor study, working Americans averaged it work in the late 19905 than they drd in y some measures, the number of hours have increased more for women than for ' jally for women in managerial and pro— e, over the last thirty years, as the rich - ‘ve; grown much richer, the poor countries I - in both absolute and relative terms— ei bat inequalities in wages are particularly VHong Kong, for instance, the wages of a estic are about fifteen times the amount make as a schoolteacher back in the Philip- 'tion, poor countries turning to the IMF ‘ank for loans are often forced to under- m‘es of so~called structural adjustment, as results for the poor and especially for r I and children. To qualify for loans, gov- - usually required to devalue their curren- .. 11 turns the hard currencies of rich countries - and the soft currencies of poor countries . Structural adjustment programs also call support for “noncompetitive industries,” u- reduction of public services such as health ,women as well as men, thus have a strong 310 seek work in more fortunate parts of the 'omenione group, in the affluent countries, help and the other, in poor countries, needing ne thing, this formulation fails to account {marked failure of First World governments to needs created by its women's entry into the . The downsized American—wand to a lesser r estem European—welfare state has become a ' t dad.” Unlike the rest of the industrialized the United States does not offer public child '3 working mothers, nor does it ensure paid fam- ,' medical leave. Moreover, a series of state tax _in the 19805 reduced the number of hours pub- 'es were open and slashed school-enrichment 53 and after-school programs. Europe did not experience anything comparable. Still, tens of millions of western EurOpean women are in the workforce who were not before—and there has been no proportionate expan— sion in public services. Secondly, any view of the globalization of domestic work as simply an arrangement among women com- pletely omits the role of men. Numerous studies, in- cluding some of our owu, have shown that as American women took on paid employment, the men in their fam- ilies did little to increase their contribution to the work of the home. For example, only one out of every five men among the working couples whom Hochschild in- terviewed for The Second Shift (Hochschild, 1989). In the 19805 shared the work at home, and later studies suggest that while working mothers are doing some- what less housework than their counterparts twenty years ago, most men are doing only a little more. With divorce, men frequently abdicate their child-care re- sponsibilities to their ex-wives. In most cultures of the First World outside the United States, powerful tradi- tions even more firmly discourage husbands from doing “women’s work.” So, strictly speaking, the pres- ence of immigrant nannies does not enable affluent women to enter the workforce; it enables affluent men to continue avoiding the second shift. The men in wealthier countries are also, of course, directly responsible for the demand for immigrant sex workers—as well as for the sexual abuse of many mi- grant women who work as domestics. Why, we won- dered, is there a particular demand for “imported” sex- ual partners? Part of the answer may lie in the fact that new imrni grants often take up the least desirable work, and, thanks to the AIDS epidemic, prostitution has be- come a job that ever fewer women deliberately choose. But perhaps some of this demand grows out of the erotic lure of the “exotic.” Immigrant women may seem desirable sexual partners for the same reason that First World employers believe them to be especially gifted as caregivers: they are thought to embody the traditional feminine qualities of nurturance, docility, and eagerness to please. Some men feel nostalgic for these qualities, which they associate with a bygone way of life. Even as many wage-earning Western women assimilate to the competitive culture of “male” work and ask respect for making it in a man’s world, 54 PERSPECTIVES ON SEX, GENDER. AND DIFFEREN some men seek in the “exotic Orient" or “hot-blooded tropics" a woman from the imagined past. Of course, not all sex workers migrate voluntarily. An alarming number of women and girls are trafficked by smugglers and sold into bondage. Because traffick- ing is illegal and secret, the numbers are hard to know with any certainty. Kevin Bales estimates that in Thai~ land alone, a country of 60 million, half a million to a million women are prostitutes, and one out of every twenty of these is enslaved (Bales 1999). Many of these women are daughters whom northern hill-tribe families have sold to brothels in the cities of the South. Believing the promises of jobs and money, some begin the voyage willingly, only to discover days later that the “arrangers” are traffickers who steal their pass- ports, define them as debtors, and enslave them as prostitutes. Other women and girls are kidnapped, or sold by their impoverished families, and then traf— ficked to brothels. Even worse fates befall women from neighboring Laos and Burma, who flee crushing poverty and repression at home only to fall into the hands of Thai slave traders. If the factors that pull migrant women workers to affluent countries are not as simple as they at first ap- pear, neither are the factors that push them. Certainly relative poverty plays a major role, but, interestingly, migrant women often do not come from the poorest classes of their societies. In fact, they are typically more affluent and better educated than male migrants. Many female migrants from the Philippines and Mex- ico, for example, have high school or college diplomas and have held middle~class——alheit low-paid‘jobs back home. One study of Mexican migrants suggests that the trend is toward increasingly better-educated female migrants. Thirty years ago, most Mexicambom maids in the United States had been poorly educated maids in Mexico. Now a majority have high school de- grees and have held clerical, retail, or professional jobs before leaving for the United States. Such women are likely to be enterprising and adventurous enough to re- sist the social pressures to stay home and accept their lot in life. Noneconomic factors—or at least factors that are not immediately and directly economic_also influ- ence a woman’s decision to emigrate. By migrating, a woman may escape the expectation that she care for elderly family members, relinquish her payche husband or father, or defer to an abusive husba gration may also be a practical response to a marriage and the need to provide for children with” male help. In the Philippines, Rhacel Salazar parrcfias .7 (2002) tells us, migration is sometimes called a i “Philippine divorce." And there are forces at wOrk ma may be making the men of poor countries less desir‘ able as husbands. Male unemployment runs high in countries that supply female domestics to the pint World. Unable to make a living, these men often gm“, demoralized and cease contributing to their families in other ways. Many female migrants, tell of unempgom husbands who drink or gamble their remittances away Notes one study of Sri Lankan women working as maids in the Persian Gulf: “It is not unusual . , , fur the women to find upon their return that their Gulf wages by and large have been squandered on alcohol, gambling and other dubious undertakings while they were away” (Gamburd, 2002). To an eXtent then, the globalization of child care and housework brings the ambitious and independent women of the world together: the career-oriented upper-middle-class woman of an affluent nation and the striving woman from a crumbling Third World or postcommunist economy. Only it does not bring them together in the way that second-wave feminists in af- fluent countries once liked to imagine—as sisters and allies struggling to achieve common goals. Instead, they come together as mistress and maid, employer and employee, across a great divide of privilege and opportunity. This trend toward global redivision of women’s tra- ditional work throws new light on the entire process of globalization. Conventionally, it is the poorer coun- r tries that are thought to be dependent on the richer ones—a dependency symbolized by the huge debt they g Ckma‘ I. 5 i i r i i 5. 5 i i l .5; l? E E i: l i. 3. owe to global financial institutions. What we explore.- however, is a dependency that works in the other di- rection, and it is a dependency of a particularly inti- mate kind. Increasingly often, as affluent and middle- class families in the First World come to depend on migrants from poorer regions to provide child care. homemaking, and sexual services, a global relation- ship arises that in some ways mirrors the traditinrlilJ “5' lationship between the sexes. The First World takes on ad. Mi; . failed :7. WQMAN i, that of the old-fashioned male in the fam- ‘ red, entitled, unable to cook, clean, or find _ Poor countries take on a role like that of the 31 woman within the family—patient, nurtur- self-denying. A division of labor feminists cri- ‘ hen it was “local” has now, metaphorically , gone global. . 55 this metaphor a bit further, the resulting re- pis by no means a “marriage,” in the sense of “my acknowledged. In fact, it is striking how me globalization of women’s work remains, c it is noted or discussed in the First World. spotters have had almost nothing to say about the increasing numbers of affluent First World (in. and elderly persons are tended by immigrant T orkers or live in homes cleaned by inunigrant Even the political groups we might expect to be t ed about this trend—antiglobalization and I’ tactivists—often seem to have noticed only the xtravagant abusos, such as trafficking and female ' merit. So if a metaphorically gendered relation- has developed between rich and poor countries, it like a marriage and more like a secret affair. tit is a “secret affair" conducted in plain view of ' dren. Little Isadora and the other children of the _ orld raised by “two mommies" may be learning “than their ABC’s from a loving surrogate parent. ' own living rooms, they are learning a vast and c global politics. Children see. But they also learn ate disregard what they see. They learn how adults - the visible invisible. That is their “early child- 'iic education.” . . i e globalization of women‘s traditional role poses nant challenges to anyone concerned about gen- 55 der and economic inequity. How can we improve the lives and opportunities of migrant women engaged in legal occupations such as nannies and maids? How can we prevent trafficking and enslavement? More basi- cally, can we find a way to counterbalance the system- atic transfer of caring work from poor countries to rich, and the inevitable trauma of the children left behind? . . . Before we can hope to find activist solutions, we need to see these women as full human beings. They are strivers as well as victims, wives and mothers as Well as workers‘sisters, in other words, with whom We in the First World may someday define a common agenda. REFERENCES Bales, Kevin. 1999. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hochschild, Arlie Russell with Anne Machung. 1989. The Second Shift. New York: Viking Penguin. Gallinsky, Ellen and Dana Friedman. 1995. Woman: The New Providers. Whirlpool Foundation Study, Part 1. New York: Families and Work Institute. Gamburd, Michele. 2002. “Breadwinner No More," In Global Woman. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild (eds), 190—206. New York: Books. Parrenas, Rhacel Salazar. 2002. “The Care Crisis in The Philippines: Children and Transnational Families in the New Global Economy," In Global Woman. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild (eds), 39—54. New York: Metropolitan Books. Metropolitan ...
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