Gender And (Sex) Work In The Global Economy In Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, And Sex Workers In The New Economy, Ehrenreich and Hochschild present the idea globalization of women’s traditional role poses important challenges to anyone concerned about gender and economic inequity. There overall argument is that women are migrating to other countries seeking work benefiting themselves and their family. Women’s drive to escape poverty often placing them in types of work that is often gender shaped. The jobs migrant workers are doing consist of serving as nannies, maids, and sometimes sex work. These jobs often give migrants opportunities in advancement and financial stability, but many times comes with problems and risks found in globalization. Works from Brennan and Enloe have advocated that globalization is shaping gender ideology affecting women migrant workers.
In their argument Ehrenreich and Hochschild explain female migrants seek work in other countries seeking financial stability to support themselves and their family. “Millions of women from poor countries to rich ones… serve as nannies, maids, and sometimes sex work, in the absence of help from male partners” (2). The question, where are the men? These women seeking work in other countries are pushed into globalization because of many variables. First, the women are single and many have more than one child to support. Second, young women in poverty can’t afford education for further advancement and/or they help their families financially. Third, government often wants women to travel to work because women are more likely to send money back home, bettering the economy. In the United States the bread winner consists of women and men but “since 1970 earning power of most men have declined…and women making up rest being coequal earners in a household” (3). With women in the workforce this has created a need for extra help within the household. Rich country high class women now working along the side of men, no longer have the time or stamina to take care of a family and run a household.
The lifestyles of the first world women are supported due to the global transfer of services. A woman’s role as a wife in the home consists of child care, home making, and sex which are now jobs for migrant workers. Ehrenreich and Hochschild explain that the women are shaped by men’s actions. Men are not traveling and seeking “women’s work” jobs and are not contributing within their own household. However, “men in wealthier countries are also, of course, directly responsible for the demand for immigrant workers” (9). Women are pushed into situations to travel for work and financially support their families. And in other aspects men demand “exotic Orient” and “hot-blooded tropic” women in sex work, which brings women from other countries and nationalities into areas like the Dominican Republic (10).
In Selling Sex for Visas: Sex Tourism as a Stepping-stone to International Migration, Brennan presents readers with information about sex workers in Sosua, Dominican Republic. Migrants often go into sex work to engage themselves in “economic strategy that is both familiar and altogether new: they are attempting to capitalize on the very global linkages that exploit them” (155). The women survive off European clients for money and possibly a visa to further advance them and their families. The opportunity found in sex work is fulfilling to these women in Brennan’s piece. Women make money by selling sex which supports their children and families back in their home country, as well as having “control over their working conditions” (115). Women however still risk rape, disease, beatings, and arrest.
Sex workers in Sosua are independent and dependent. European clients support the sex workers or marry them. If sex workers are lucky enough to be married they have found an opportunity within the gender shaped globalization. But, many sex workers have…