Book Review

Making the Woman Worker: precarious labor and the fight for global standards, 1919-2019

Citation

Wright V (2021) Making the Woman Worker: precarious labor and the fight for global standards, 1919-2019. Review of: Making the Woman Worker: precarious labor and the fight for global standards, 1919–2019 by Eileen Boris, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2019, xx + 344 pp. ISBN: 978-0-19-087462-9. Social History, 46 (2), pp. 230-232. https://doi.org/10.1080/03071022.2021.1896242

Abstract
First paragraph: Making the Woman Worker is a rigorous analysis of the campaigns for recognition of women’s work in all its forms within the International Labour Organization (ILO). Yet it is much more than an organizational account of international congresses and conventions. Boris explores the nature of women’s work and how the woman worker was constructed from the early decades of the twentieth century to the very recent past. She tracks continuity and change over time and considers the myriad forms that women’s work has taken in the home and the formal workplace. Indeed, the consideration given to women’s responsibilities and their toil in more liminal spaces such as in contracting work in textiles as well as caring work in others’ homes is impressive. Making the Woman Worker is also truly global in its focus, with case studies of individuals and activism from the global south and north. Most significantly, Boris’ intersectional feminist analysis prioritizes the agency of women workers. As a domestic worker leader from Peru stated in 2008 when demanding recognition of their status as workers, ‘we are tired of hearing others speak in our name’ (213). Boris ensures that the reader hears the voices of women worker/activists as well as those campaigning on their behalf.

Journal
Social History: Volume 46, Issue 2

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online30/04/2021
Date accepted by journal30/04/2021
ISSN0307-1022
eISSN1470-1200
Item discussedMaking the Woman Worker: precarious labor and the fight for global standards, 1919–2019 by Eileen Boris, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2019, xx + 344 pp. ISBN: 978-0-19-087462-9