Global Woman presents a nice mix of essays that all discuss issues of the global movement of women, particularly from the Third World to First World. In attempts to gain an income for their families, these women face many struggles. From leaving their families in their native countries to submitting to harsh rules by their employers, these women are always under some constant force or pressure. Globalization has been a topic of much study for the last twenty plus years and many books have focused on the politics and economic effects. More and more studies are now demonstrating the human element and how the global movement of people is one result of globalization, one that has many different affects on other aspects of society. Furthermore, these issues of globalization are not isolated to one segment of the population, we as a whole can benefit from certain global processes, but these same practices can also detriment others as well. If we can begin to understand how issues of globalization affect us and out culture, politics, economies, and society, we can begin to offer solutions.
Each essay, whether recounting the tale of a nanny, maid, or sex worker, paints and intimate picture of the daily lives of these women, their struggles, their successes, and the reasons they continue such work. Most importantly, these narratives aren't solely written in third person, but on the contrary, the authors allow the reader to hear first hand from the women: the nannies who care for children while their own are thousands of miles away; the maids who work under tight restrictions to both their professional and personal lives; and the sex workers who may or may not be exploiting themselves or who may or may not be trafficked. In each account, the women have various reasons for getting into a certain line of work and each job presents positives and negatives. Another important point is that these women are not always treated well and they are not always treated bad, they don't always get to exercise free will and they are not always restrained. The women portrayed are both able to make their own decisions yet are products of the decisions others have made.
Unlike the reviewer who claims the author is extremely feminist and that "all women subject to these conditions are victims of globalization and capitalization," I would argue that these essays illustrate that globalization brings with it many interesting side effects, one in particular the movement of women away from their homes and to other countries where they are tied to a certain work structure. Are these situations ideal? No, of course not, but the point isn't to lecture about the ills of globalization, but just to demonstrate some other aspects of the phenomenon.
I agree somewhat with the reviewer that says no solutions are offered to deal with the problems explored. To an extent there aren't many options presented. On the other side, this book seems to be presenting the issues so that others may find solutions and it never pretends that these essays and authors have all the answers. As the editors note in the introduction, "we hope to make the invisible visible again," (pg.12), to present the issues that immigrant women face and figure out how to "improve the lives and opportunities of migrant women engaged in legal occupations...and prevent trafficking and enslavement" (pg. 13).
While I agree with the review about "the topics are clearly delineated between domestic workers, cheap labor and the sex trade" and that the book is "excellent for libraries, research and the well-read individual," I disagree on the careful, fact-filled study. While there are tons of facts and figures, I'm not clear on where they all come from. I see some in the endnotes, but in many places, figures are provided without citation. Additionally, as one review stated, "there are some gaps here, such as the lack of first-person narratives and the views of Eastern European women working in Western Europe," but as the same person states, "no anthology can be all-inclusive." Indeed, this volume seems more dedicated to issues involving women from the Global South who migrant to northern countries and the editors and authors make no secret of that fact.
Overall, so far, I think Global Women is a decent overview of the issues surrounding globalization and the global movement of women. I think that often, some of the every day, mundane issues are overlooked with a focus on the broader themes. The best part of the book is the narratives of the women themselves, they talk about their situations, their emotions, and it is plain to see how much of a sacrifice they make. Lastly, I think that this collection of essays is a great start for anyone who either wants to know a little about this topic or those who plan to devote their time to future studies of globalization.