GENDER, GLOBALIZATION AND THE WOMEN OF THE MAQUILADORAS: BEFORE AND AFTER NAFTA
Women, especially poor women, continue to play a significant role in the maquiladoras governed by NAFTA, and now NAFTA 2.0 (USMCA) at the Mexican border.
American companies have been relocating to Mexico since 1965, and with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA, cross-border trade and the relocation of American factories to the border created thousands of new jobs but didn’t necessarily bring about living wages or clean and safe environments. If anything, the working classes experienced sex discrimination, harassment, wage theft, toxicity, pollution and chronic health problems due to lack of safety or regulation in their workplaces.
The Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (CFO), wrote in their 1999 report Six Years Under– NAFTA, free trade had failed them. Under NAFTA, wages and working conditions for maquiladora workers had gone from bad to worse.
Will NAFTA 2.0 make things better?
- Norma Iglesias Prieto, Beautiful Flowers of the Maquiladora: Life Histories of Women Workers in Tijuana, 8-9 (Michael Stone & Gabrielle Winkler trans., 1997).
- Devon G. Peña, The Terror of the Machine: Technology, Work, Gender and Ecology on the U.S.-Mexico Border, 46-51(1997)
- Luis Alberto Urrea, By the Lake of the Sleeping Children: The Secret Life on the Mexican Border (1996) (A powerful critique of the impact of American consumerism and free trade policy in the lives of Mexico’s poorest of the poor, those who end up living off the dump of the city of Tijuana (sister city to San Diego, California).
- Luis Alberto Urrea, Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border (1993)
- Kathleen Staudt and Irasema Coronado, Fronteras No Mas: Toward Social Justice at the U.S.-Mexico Border (2002)