The introduction of a Maquiladora into a newly developing country has many effects on the people who live there, especially women. It is a common misconception that all the effects are bad.
A woman who works in a maquiladora to support her family certainly does not feel that the Maquila’s coming is a harmful thing, without the work provided in the factory, her family would not be able to survive. Perhaps her husband’s work is not enough to support her family or maybe there is no husband, but there are kids, hungry ones. To a woman in this situation, the coming of these companies to her towns is a godsend.
Another benefit of the Maqiulas is that having a job can also empower women. The workplace is a place where they can meet with other women with whom they would otherwise not get to see. When women work together they are able to for bonds and alliances which enable them to form unions and to demand better working conditions. Although many of these uprisings are put down by drastic and many times violent means, this is still an example of women’s empowerment.
Third world women who are employed outside the home set a better example for their younger daughters to follow. Although these jobs may seem undesirable ,even terrible to most it
is still bringing women into the work force and giving them means to be more independent , which is a form of empowerment, however small an improvement it may seem. It entices these young girls to strive for more. They no longer want to work in the home, they want to go into the factories like their mothers and be more independent. I feel that, that kind of employment is a gateway for even more women’s empowerment, because it exposes them to different kinds of life styles. Or, this can also compel them to strive for even more, having seen how their mothers have struggled to support a family on such a meager wage.
I do not feel that working in these factories oppresses women, because without these job women would be even more oppressed overall. Without factory work, third world women would not be able to support their families. Also they would have no exposure to thing outside of their own existence. It is true that they really have no room for advancement, but with out these jobs they wouldn’t even have the chance to work. So that in it self is an improvement, because they are helping to support their families, thereby bettering their situation.
However, maquiladoras do have negative repercussions. Many of them have poor working condition, such as unsafe machinery and poor ventilation. They also do not meet the US (and many times third worlds) government regulations for health standards, and subject their workers to long hours without the benefits of overtime and medical coverage. The lower standard of work regulation is the reason many American companies take their factories to less developed countries. The women are also forced to do labor which is tedious and repetitive. In the movie
The Global Assembly Line, the executive of a company even stated that they prefer to hire women, because they are better at that kind of work. This kind of thinking only reinforces the patriarchal ideals of women being subservient to men. Maquiladoras also disrupt family bonds, by the mother leaving the home to work. Also many girls leave their families in order to find work in the factories, so that they can send money to family members at home, but once they arrive and discover the conditions for many it is to late to return home.Although these conditions are unacceptable, without them women of the third world would not be able to survive.
I believe that maquiladoras are more helpful than harmful. The women that work in these factories rely on them to support their families which otherwise they could not. Although they are riddled with problems, the women would be faced with more hardships without them.