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Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019
Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019
WhenWednesday, June 3, 2020, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
WhereSeattle Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Event typesLectures/Seminars, Special Events
Event sponsorsHarry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

In Making the Woman Worker (Oxford, 2019), renowned labor scholar Eileen Boris analyzes the 100-year history of the International Labor Organization's treatment of women as a window into the modern history of labor. 

Boris analyzes three ways in which the ILO has classified the division of labor: between women and men from 1919 to 1958; between women in the global south and the west from 1955 to 1996; and between the earning and care needs of all workers from 1990s to today. Before 1945, the ILO focused on distinguishing feminized labor from male workers, whom the organization prioritized. But when the world needed more women workers, the ILO (a UN agency after WWII) highlighted the global differences in women's work, began to combat sexism in the workplace, and declared care work essential to women's labor participation. Today, the ILO enters its second century with a mission to protect the interests of all workers in the face of increasingly globalized supply chains, the digitization of homework, and cross-border labor trafficking.

Eileen Boris is the Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author, with Jennifer Klein, of Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State (Oxford, 2012), which received the Sara A. Whaley Award from the National Women's Studies Association. She serves as President of the International Federation for Research in Women's History, 2015-2020 and received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award to the Field from the Labor and Working-Class History Association. She comments on women's labor in homes and other workplaces in activist and popular as well as scholarly venues.

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