Eileen Boris’s new book, Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919–2019, traces the history of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) incremental recognition of the work of social reproduction, culminating in the struggle of domestic workers to gain formal recognition at the ILO. Throughout three sections, Boris demonstrates the global making of the woman worker. She provides extensive evidence of how extraction of labor and raw materials from former colonies nourished and sustained the postwar welfare state. In the age of neoliberal globalization, the “global” is reconfigured partly through the expansion of migrant (domestic/care) labor alongside the production of cheap commodities. For Boris, the context of the Cold War is also central to making the woman worker, as the ILO standards regarding women’s work were produced by the struggle between the US and the USSR and these superpowers’ competing conceptions of social citizenship. Making...
Beyond “Legal Equality” vs. “Difference” Feminism: Leah F. Vosko Interviews Eileen Boris on Women and the ILO
Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, EILEEN BORIS specializes in home-based work and the racialized gendered state. Her books include the prize-winners Home to Work: Motherhood and the Politics of Industrial Homework in the United States (1994) and Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State, with Jennifer Klein (2012 Jennifer Klein (2015). She is the coeditor of Intimate Labors with Rachel Parreñas. Her latest books are Women’s ILO: Transnational Networks, Global Labor Standards, and Gender Equity (2018), coedited with Dorothea Hoehtker and Susan Zimmermann, and Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919–2019 (2019), which was the finalist for the Nicholas Prize of the OAH. She now is writing on the less-than-free labor of migrant domestic workers, legal regulation, and struggles against labor brokers since World War II.
LEAH F. VOSKO is Professor of Politics and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender and Work at York University. Her current research examines employment standards enforcement and access to rights among workers laboring transnationally. She is the author and editor of numerous scholarly books, volumes, and articles. Her latest solely authored book is Disrupting Deportability: Transnational Workers Organize (2019), and her latest coauthored book is Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap: Improving Protections for People in Precarious Jobs (2020). Her 2010 book Managing the Margins: Gender, Citizenship and the International Regulation of Precarious Employment takes up issues complementary to Boris’s Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919–2019.
Eileen Boris, Leah F. Vosko; Beyond “Legal Equality” vs. “Difference” Feminism: Leah F. Vosko Interviews Eileen Boris on Women and the ILO. Labor 1 December 2020; 17 (4): 106–112. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-8643592
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