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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 2020-10-19
Grantor Ohio University

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…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…

…1964.31 After the Bracero Program ended, the Mexican government allowed foreign companies to establish factories (maquiladoras) along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to revive industry and relieve mass unemployment that occurred as a result of…

…Scholarly Resources Inc., 1999), 121. 30 Craig, The Bracero Program, 151. 31 Ibid. 32 Cravey, Women and Work in Mexico’s Maquiladoras,11. 16 Constitution, which prohibited foreign ownership of property in Mexico.33 In the 1960s under PRI…

…Ordaz, including foreign investment in the BIP was crucial to its success. While the maquiladoras certainly relieved some of the region’s unemployment, they also received much criticism from both American and Mexican audiences. From the American…

…perspective, maquiladoras exported American jobs to Mexico and assembled products at a lower price than U.S.-based factories could afford, thus making it more difficult for them to compete in the global market.35 Meanwhile, Mexicans criticized the maquiladoras

…Angeles: University of California Press: 2003). 17 Even though the maquiladoras originated to absorb the returning male braceros, women initially made up between 80 and 90 percent of the maquiladora workforce.37 Employers in the maquiladoras

…especially men…[and they] follow orders willingly.”41 Sources also criticize the maquiladoras’ tendencies to undervalue female labor in the industry. Most researchers agree that the official minimum wage serves as both a floor and a ceiling for…

…maquiladora workers’ earnings.42 Typically the women who worked in the maquiladoras provided most of the household income, and still do. For 37 Hilary Abell, “Endangering Women’s Health for Profit: Health and Safety in Mexico’s Maquiladoras,” Development in…