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Title Gender, Labor, and Capitalism in U.S.-Mexican Relations, 1942–2000
Publication Date
Degree MA
Discipline/Department Latin American Studies (International Studies)
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher Ohio University
Abstract This thesis explores how throughout the twentieth century, the U.S. government worked closely with American businesses and the Mexican government to favor profitability over the social conditions of Mexican workers in the Bracero Program (1942-1964) and the Border Industrialization Program, or BIP (1964-2000). In both programs, Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) tailored each program to American employers’ ideals of the most cost-efficient, most productive, and least resistant workforce for each individual program by exploiting gender. While in the Bracero Program, U.S. farmers favored single, male laborers, in the BIP, U.S. employers preferred single, female workers. The author conducted a series of oral history interviews with former braceros and maquiladora workers in order to draw comparisons between their experiences under U.S. capitalism in the twentieth century. Under each program, male braceros and female maquiladora workers shared similar experiences with low wages, substandard living conditions, and other human rights violations.
Subjects/Keywords Agriculture; Economic History; Gender; Hispanic Americans; History; International Relations; Labor Economics; Labor Relations; Latin American History; Womens Studies; maquiladoras; braceros; Bracero Program; gender; Mexico; U.S.-Mexican relations; U.S. capitalism; capitalism; history; labor; PRI
Contributors Barr-Melej, Patrick (Committee Chair)
Language en
Rights unrestricted ; This thesis or dissertation is protected by copyright: all rights reserved. It may not be copied or redistributed beyond the terms of applicable copyright laws.
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:etd.ohiolink.edu:ohiou1243907962
Repository ohiolink
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2016-12-22
Grantor Ohio University

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…x29; depended on the U.S. to provide its citizens with employment under the Bracero Program (1942-1964) and the Border Industrialization Program, or BIP (1964-2000). In both programs, the PRI cultivated a “docile” Mexican workforce…

…central feature of the process.”3 Under the Bracero Program, the U.S. exclusively contracted Mexican men to work on farms and railroads. The U.S. never included women in the program, even though farmers had previously hired Mexican men, women, and children…

…American farmers considered Mexicans to be the cheapest, most submissive, and most disposable source of labor, and therefore, the most desirable employees.6 Mexican consulates ensured the farmers a submissive source of labor by pressuring the braceros to…

…passively obey their employers.7 When the Bracero Program ended in 1964, a group of Mexican entrepreneurs, with support from the PRI, created the BIP to provide jobs for the 3 Leslie Salzinger, Genders in Production: Making Workers in Mexico’s Global…

…Reframing the Migration Question: An Analysis of Men, Women, and Gender in Mexico,” Social Forces 78 (June 2000): 1320. Oscar J. Martínez, phone interview by author, August 19, 2008. 6 Camille Guerin-Gonzales, Mexican Workers and American Dreams…

…tradition of machismo influenced American companies’ perception of Mexican women as passive and docile— qualities that they considered more favorable in maquiladora employees.9 Under both programs, American employers’ perceptions of Mexican laborers as being…

…profitability over the social conditions of the workers. The theoretical framework for my research encompasses a pattern in U.S.-Mexican historical relations, of 8 Altha Cravey, Women and Work in Mexico’s Maquiladoras (New York: Rowman & Littlefield…

…Program and the BIP, Mexican laborers experienced human rights violations, such as racial and sexual discrimination, low wages, substandard living conditions, adverse working conditions, and in some cases, violence at the hands of American employers. My…