23 February – Doubly marginalised? Women workers in north east Brazilian export horticulture Febr

Tomorrow’s speaker is Ben Selwyn, with a talk on :

“Doubly marginalised? Women workers in north east Brazilian export horticulture”

See you all at 1pm, Silverstone Building, 317.


Enhanced capital mobility is one of the most significant features of
contemporary globalisation and is often contrasted with labour’s relative
immobility, which leads to the deterioration of the pay and conditions of
workers, and with women in particular, experiencing the brunt of
‘flexible’ employment.  This is particularly the case in fast-expanding
agro-export sectors across the global south. Whilst women are increasingly
employed in these sectors, they regularly experience worse conditions than
their male colleagues. Hence, women in export horticulture can often said
to be doubly marginalised: as workers, and as women. Through a detailed
investigation of the recent and rapid formation of a new export
horticulture sector in North East Brazil, trade union strategies within the
sector to better the conditions of their members, and women worker’s
attempts to gain greater representation within the trade union I call into
question the simplifying assumptions of women’s double marginalisation.
This article distinguishes between workers structural and associational
power, illustrates empirically how the transformation of the former into
the latter is not automatic but an achievement to be fought for by workers,
and suggests that the investigation of this transformation constitutes a
useful methodological approach for the study of labour generally, and
gendered labour practices in particular, under globalisation.

Key Words: Women Workers, Rural Trade Unions, North East Brazil, Structual
Power, Associational Power


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