Women's Lives in the New Global EconomyPenny Duggan & Heather Dashner (editors)
IIRE Notebook for Study and Research no. 22 (68 pp. €2.75, £2, $3.25)
Women's Lives in the New Global Economy links together transformations that are affecting women in factories and farms, as peddlers and professionals, as neighbours, mothers and wives, in old age and even in the womb. Twelve feminist activists and scholars on five continents describe sweeping changes that are being brought about by the growth of world trade, regional economic integration (EU/NAFTA/ MERCOSUR) and austerity policies that respond to pressures for 'competitiveness'. Focusing sometimes on working conditions, sometimes on family life, sometimes on the interaction of gender, class, race and caste, they show how much capital's projects for economic reorganization depend on women's cheap labour in the Third World, 'flexible' labour in advanced capitalist countries and unpaid labour in homes everywhere. And they show how from Sweden to Malaysia new forms of women's oppression are stimulating new forms of women's resistance.
These contributions are the product of several years of sessions at the IIRE devoted to examining women's place in society. In all their diversity, they illustrate how activists collaborating within a shared frame of reference can use their different experiences to develop a truly international analysis of the processes at work today.