Labors Appropriate to Their Sex

9780822327325: Hardback
Release Date: 15th November 2001

9780822327424: Paperback
Release Date: 15th November 2001

20 photographs, 22 tables, 2 maps

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 360

Series Latin America Otherwise

Duke University Press Books

Labors Appropriate to Their Sex

Gender, Labor, and Politics in Urban Chile, 1900–1930

Hardback / £90.00
Paperback / £23.99

In Labors Appropriate to Their Sex Elizabeth Quay Hutchison addresses the plight of working women in early twentieth-century Chile, when the growth of urban manufacturing was transforming the contours of women’s wage work and stimulating significant public debate, new legislation, educational reform, and social movements directed at women workers. Challenging earlier interpretations of women’s economic role in Chile’s industrial growth, which took at face value census figures showing a dramatic decline in women’s industrial work after 1907, Hutchison shows how the spread of industrial sweatshops and changing definitions of employment in the census combined to make female labor disappear from census records at the same time that it was in fact burgeoning in urban areas.

In addition to population and industrial censuses, Hutchison culls published and archival sources to illuminate such misconceptions and to reveal how women’s paid labor became a locus of anxiety for a society confronting social problems—both real and imagined—that were linked to industrialization and modernization. The limited options of working women were viewed by politicians, elite women, industrialists, and labor organizers as indicative of a society in crisis, she claims, yet their struggles were also viewed as the potential springboard for reform. Labors Appropriate to Their Sex thus demonstrates how changing norms concerning gender and work were central factors in conditioning the behavior of both male and female workers, relations between capital and labor, and political change and reform in Chile.

This study will be rewarding for those whose interests lie in labor, gender, or Latin American studies; as well as for those concerned with the histories of early feminism, working-class women, and sexual discrimination in Latin America.

List of Tables

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments
Introduction
I. Working-Class Life and Politics

1. Gender, Industrialization, and Urban Change in Santiago

2. Women at Work in Santiago

3. “To Work Like Men and Not Cry Like Women”: The Problem of Women in Male Workers’ Politics

4. Somos Todos Obreras! Socialists and Working-Class Feminism
II. Women Workers and the Social Question

5. Women’s Vocational Training: The Female Face of Industrialization

6. Senoras y Senoritas; Catholic Women Defend the Hijas de Familia

7. Women, Work, and Motherhood: Gender and Legislative Consensus
Conclusion: Women, Work, and Historical Change
Conclusion: Women, Work, and Historical Change

Appendices

Abbreviations

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Elizabeth Quay Hutchison is Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Mexico.

"As part of a growing body of groundbreaking scholarship on women and gender in Chilean history, Hutchison’s Labors Appropriate to Their Sex makes an important contribution to the existing scholarship on working-class women in early twentieth-century Latin America." - Christine Ehrick, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"[A] serious and stimulating new work that I would recommend to anyone interested in the study of gender, labor, politics, and society." - M. Elisa Fernández, HAHR

"Hutchison has produced the best single study we have of Chilenas in the work place. It is one of the few historical portraits we have of urban working women for any country and should fit well into surveys about Latin American women, the history of Chile, and general courses on the region. This is a pioneering account of working women in Chile. It is graced throughout by appropriate illustrations, running from photographs of women in factories and in the market to reproductions of their early newspapers. Future studies of Chilean women workers now have a place to start." - Michael Monteón, The History Teacher

"This exceptional study of women's paid employment and its regulation in early twentieth-century Chile is destined to become obligatory reading for students of Latin American gender and labour history." - David S. Parker, Canadian Journal of History

"[Hutchison] meticulously reconstructs factory life, women's role in the economy, their place in the production process in a variety of factory settings, and their role in modernizing Chile. . . . [She] sets a new standard for probing empirical resources. . . . [An] example to which future labor history must aspire, since the day is long gone when any history can blithely forget one-half of the population and still assume that the whole story has been told".
- Teresa A Meade, Journal of Women’s History

“In fruitful dialogue with work on other historical periods and regions, Hutchison's meticulously researched study of early twentieth-century Chile traces the deep roots and enduring themes of contemporary debates on women's labor, gender, the family, and social policy.”—Florencia Mallon, author of Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru

“This is a work of superior scholarship on an important but neglected subject. Hutchison has written from a new perspective that reflects considerable and original research in a wide variety of documents. Representing a new wave in feminist studies, this multifaceted book reveals the gendered character of Chilean discourse on work, poverty, activism, and reform.”—Peter Winn, author of Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean

"[A] serious and stimulating new work that I would recommend to anyone interested in the study of gender, labor, politics, and society."

M. Elisa Fernández
HAHR

"[Hutchison] meticulously reconstructs factory life, women's role in the economy, their place in the production process in a variety of factory settings, and their role in modernizing Chile. . . . [She] sets a new standard for probing empirical resources. . . . [An] example to which future labor history must aspire, since the day is long gone when any history can blithely forget one-half of the population and still assume that the whole story has been told".

Teresa A Meade
Journal of Women’s History

"As part of a growing body of groundbreaking scholarship on women and gender in Chilean history, Hutchison’s Labors Appropriate to Their Sex makes an important contribution to the existing scholarship on working-class women in early twentieth-century Latin America."

Christine Ehrick
Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Hutchison has produced the best single study we have of Chilenas in the work place. It is one of the few historical portraits we have of urban working women for any country and should fit well into surveys about Latin American women, the history of Chile, and general courses on the region. This is a pioneering account of working women in Chile. It is graced throughout by appropriate illustrations, running from photographs of women in factories and in the market to reproductions of their early newspapers. Future studies of Chilean women workers now have a place to start."

Michael Monteón
The History Teacher

"This exceptional study of women's paid employment and its regulation in early twentieth-century Chile is destined to become obligatory reading for students of Latin American gender and labour history."

David S. Parker
Canadian Journal of History