Hanging by a thread : industrial restructuring and social reproduction in a Colombian city


Material Information

Hanging by a thread : industrial restructuring and social reproduction in a Colombian city
Physical Description:
x, 214 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Gladden, Kathleen Ann, 1960-
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Women -- Employment -- Colombia   ( lcsh )
Clothing workers -- Colombia   ( lcsh )
Anthropology thesis Ph.D
Dissertations, Academic -- Anthropology -- UF
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1991.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 196-213).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
General Note:
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kathleen Ann Gladden.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 24956944
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
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        Page ix
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    Chapter 1. Introduction
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    Chapter 2. Women’s work in home and factory: Theoretical perspective
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    Chapter 3. Industrialization in Colombia
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    Chapter 4. Subcontracting and industrial outworkers in the garment industry
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    Chapter 5. Profile of life in the garment factory
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    Chapter 6. Household structure and women’s labor force participation
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    Chapter 7. Decision making and authority patterns in the household
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    Chapter 8. Conclusions
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    Appendix A. Interview with workers
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    Appendix B. Questionnaire for personnel managers (In Spanish)
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    Appendix C. Spouse employment
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    Appendix D. Household ethnographies
        Page 195
    List of references
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 214
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Full Text






This research was made possible only through the collaboration of many individuals and organizations. Undoubtedly some will be left out in this recognition. My apologies to those people. So many people have extended a helping hand during various stages of this project, that to name them all would be impossible. First and foremost, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the women workers in the garment industry (both those who worked in the factory and those who worked in the home). These women took hours out of an otherwise incredibly busy day to talk to a curious ".gringa" who spoke a broken Spanish. These interviews (conversations) provide the basis for the analysis presented here.

In Pereira, Risaralda, the local branch of the National Industrialists Association, ANDI, provided letters of introduction for the large factories. The association of medium and small producers, ACOPI, provided office space as well as introduction to the meduim and small scale enterprise owners. The social workers of the government's vocational school, SENA assisted in finding home based workers and provided me access to the garment classes offered through this government institution. In Pereira, GermAn and Marta Lucia Manfn and Ricardo and Consuelo G6mez opened their homes to a relative stranger, providing a family environment in which I worked and lived for 8 months. Stella Brandt, sociologist of the Technological University of Pereira, and the women of the Casa de la Mujer, provided invaluable support and encouragement as feminists concerned with


the condition of women workers in the city. Flor Maria Gonzalez and her sister Gloria completed many of the factory worker interviews.
In Bogotd, Elssy Bonilla provided invaluable institutional support at the Universidad de los Andes. She and Magdalena Leon read the initial draft of the survey and assisted me in better understanding the Colombian reality. The women of the Grupo de la Mujer y Sociedad at the National University provided a forum for discussion of feminism in Colombia which greatly enriched my experience there. The Fulbright Foundation provided economic and logistical support throughout the entire process. I wish to thank the entire staff, particularly Dr. Augustin Lombano and Consuelo Valdivieso, of the Fulbright Commission office in Bogota for their financial and personal support.
Adelia Romero opened her home to me in Bogota, and her families generosity facilitated my entry into Colombian society. In Colombia I was fortunate to have the support of friends and North American researchers: Ann Hornsby, Nancy Nelson, Rich Stoller, and Gary Long. Throughout 6 years of friendship, fellow anthropologist Julian Arturo has provided stimulating debates on Colombian events and deepened my understanding of the region tremendously.
My colleagues in the anthropology department and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida have provided support and an arena for intellectual debate helping me to relate the ivory tower concepts of anthropological theory to the experience of fieldwork and data interpretation. In particular, Gay Biery-Hamilton, Avecita Chicch6n, Florencia Pefia, and Vance Geiger read and commented on initial drafts of the dissertation. Gay's wonderful sense of humor helped maintain my sanity throughout the graduate school experience. Lois Stanford provided invaluable support


through many late night long distance discussions. Augusto G6mez also read and commented on several chapters of the dissertation. His knowledge of Colombia strengthen the history chapter considerably, and his friendship and support at crucial moments helped keep the dissertation process in proper perspective. Chris Canaday's comments on the statistical analysis and his assistance with the maps are greatly appreciated. Gary Shaeff also assisted with the maps. Debbie Dow Marshal and Clara Sotelo, provided significant words of encouragement during various stages of the process. Pamela Starr, Susan Parker, and Donna Wills Green provided long distance support during late night conversations throughout many years of friendship. Maria Roof has been an inspiration to me since my undergraduate days, and I thank her tremendously for her support and the example she provided for women at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA.

I also wish to thank my dissertation committee who patiently read and critiqued various chapters of the dissertation at different stages of the process. Although any errors in the final production are my own, the insightful comments of both Dr. Helen Safa, committee chair, and Dr. Marianne Schmink who critiqued each chapter on numerous occasions, were extremely helpful along the way. Dr. David Bushnell also read the entire document several times. His comments, editorial and substantive, were very useful. Dr. Paul Doughty and Dr. Anthony Oliver-Smith also provided significant words of wisdom throughout the process.


Finally, I am grateful to my family (including Betty Richardson, who is like family), whose encouragement throughout my graduate studies has supported me in this lengthy process. My mother, especially, through her example, has taught me the value of perseverance in difficult tasks; without her support, economic and otherwise, this dissertation would not have been completed.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................ ii

A B ST R A C T ...................................................................................................................... ix

In tro d u ction ................................................................................................................ 1
M eth odology ............................................................................................................... 7
Survey M ethodology ........................................................................................... 9
Q u alitative D ata ....................................................................................................... 14

In tro d u ction .............................................................................................................. 16
The Household as Mediator of Women's Labor Force Incorporation ......... 18
Fam ily or H ousehold ........................................................................................ 20
Female-headed Households ............................................................................ 22
Women's Labor Force Incorporation .................................................................. 23
Women's Labor Force Incorporation and the Development of
Industrial C apitalism .................................................................................. 26
Changes in the Social Relations of Production ........................................... 29
Monopoly Capital and Women's Labor Force Incorporation .................. 31
The New International Division of Labor ................................................... 33
The Inform al Sector ................................................................................................ 37
Subcontracted Industrial Outwork ................................................................. 39
Industrial Outwork and Capitalist Development ....................................... 39
C on clu sio n ................................................................................................................ 41

In tro d u ction .............................................................................................................. 43
Development of the Manufacturing Industry in Colombia ........................... 49
Women's Contribution to Industrial Development ................................. 52
From Import Substitution to the Promotion of Exports ........................... 54
Temporary Employment ......................................................... I ........................ 58
Textile Production ............................................................................................. 60


Export Promotion and Industrial Development ........................................ 62
Antioquefio Colonization of Old Caldas and the Subsequent
Development of Pereira as a producer of consumer goods ..................... 64
Agricultural Development .............................................................................. 64
Industrial D evelopm ent ................................................................................... 68
Regional D evelopm ent .................................................................................... 72
Regional Manufacturing Industry ................................................................. 74
Contemporary Colombian Development .......................................................... 76
C on clu sion ................................................................................................................ 79

In tro d u ction .............................................................................................................. 81
The Subcontracting Relationship ......................................................................... 82
The Subcontracting Relationship in Risaralda ........................................... 83
Subcontracting as Articulation Between Formal and Informal
Secto rs ............................................................................................................. 87
Intermediaries as Agents of Articulation ..................................................... 89
Levels of Subcontracting .................................................................................. 94
Subcontracting and Subordination in the Garment Industry ........................ 95
Access and Control of Markets ........................................................................ 97
Access and Control of Raw Materials ............................................................ 98
Relationships within the Subcontracted Enterprise ........................................ 99
C on clu sion .............................................................................................................. 103

In trod u ction ............................................................................................................ 105
Material Relations of Production within the Factory .................................... 106
Working Conditions of Women ........................................................................ 108
Mechanisms of Control in the Factory .............................................................. 110
Forms of Resistance within the Garment Industry and Factory N ............. 115
Changes in Organization of Production in Factory N ................................... 119
C on clu sion .............................................................................................................. 120

In trod u ction ............................................................................................................ 122
D om estic C ycle ........................................................................................................ 126
Life Cycle Variables of Women .................................................................... 133
H ousehold V ariables ....................................................................................... 137
C onclu sions ............................................................................................................. 149


Introduction ............................................................................................................ 152
H ousehold A uthority Patterns ........................................................................... 154
W orkplace ......................................................................................................... 154
H om e ow nership ............................................................................................. 155
A ccess and Control of Budget .............................................................................. 158
Culture and the H ousehold ................................................................................. 163
Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 168

Research Findings ............................................................................................ 171
Theoretical Contributions of this Study ........................................................... 173
Prospects for the Colom bian Case ...................................................................... 176

A PPEN D IX A ................................................................................................................ 179
Interview w ith W orkers ...................................................................................... 179

A PPEN D IX B ................................................................................................................. 188
Questionnaire for personnel managers (In Spanish) ................................... 188

A PPEN D IX C ................................................................................................................. 191
Spouse Em ploym ent ............................................................................................. 191

A ppendix D ................................................................................................................... 194
H ousehold Ethnographies ................................................................................... 194

LIST O F REFEREN CES ............................................................................................... 196

BIO G RA PH ICA L SKETCH ......................................................................................... 213


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


Kathleen Gladden

May 1991

Chairman: Dr. Helen Safa
Major Department: Anthropology

This study of one sector of the urban labor force describes women's role in social reproduction of the working class in the garment industry. Women's labor force incorporation is considered as one aspect of the broader struggle by households to ensure their social reproduction. Based on 110 interviews with home-based and factory workers, the research analyzes the impact of factors such as the domestic cycle of the household and the life cycle of the women on their participation in the labor force.
Women's domestic responsibilities and social relationships in the household limit her options in the labor market. This study found that women with additional household responsibilities (especially wives and mothers) were more likely to participate in home-based production. However, female heads of household were more frequently found in the factory where they can command higher salaries. Further, differences in


household composition led to different social relationships which were correlated with different authority patterns within the household.

At the workplace level this research demonstrated how informal methods of contracting labor are increasing due largely to growing international competition which requires cheaper labor to produce less costly goods. Recent restructuring of production in the garment industry in Colombia is a significant mechanism, incorporating home-based workers and small and medium sized factories into the process of production in the garment industry. This increasing informality of contracts affects not only subcontracted industrial outwork but also labor relationships within the factory (especially the factory with solely domestic capital) making them less stable. This increasing informalization of the labor market and utilization of subcontracting leads to increasing subordination of women's position in the labor market.

The research concludes that the restructuring of production at both the national and international level, while increasing employment options for women, reinforces their subordinate position in the labor force. The fact that women are now major economic providers for the household demonstrates the increasing vulnerability of these units. Since women traditionally have been relegated to the most precarious economic positions, it is no surprise that they continue to represent a vulnerable and exploited labor force. As women's economic contributions to the household rises at the same time as factory wages are falling, the possibilities for social reproduction of the working class become more difficult. The households are "hanging by a thread," a slender thread frequently provided by the salary of the women workers.



Pienso que de pronto que explotaban las condiciones de la mujer. Porque son mas responsables. Hay mas permanencia de las mujeres en los puestos de trabajo por la necessidad...
Dofia Constancia, trabajadora social del SENA en Pereira

I think that, just maybe they exploited the conditions of the women...Because they are more responsible.. .There are more women who stay in jobs because of need...
Dofia Constancia, Social Worker in SENA in Pereira

This research analyzes the relationship between the organization of

gender roles in the household and women's labor force incorporation, in order

to explore the impact of industrial restructuring in one industrial sector (the

garment industry) on social reproduction. This study considers the impact of

internal forces of the household and external forces of the labor market on

women's labor force participation in an intermediate sized industrializing city

in Colombia, South America. The supply of workers cannot be analyzed

completely separate from the demand for workers. Economic pressures on the

household result from a variety of factors including macro-economic factors

such as the current economic crisis inflation, high unemployment and regional


processes of industrialization, as well as micro-economic factors such as the structure and domestic cycle of the household. Household responsibilities considerably constrain women's labor force incorporation. This analysis of the interaction between the household and the labor market considers 1) the impact of household structure and composition on (a) the availability of female labor (Chapter 6), and (b) new patterns of household authority resulting from women's sources of income (Chapter 7), 2) the impact of factory recruitment strategies on women's labor force incorporation, and 3) the impact of changes in the structure of production, due to both regional and national political and economic pressures on women's labor force incorporation and the composition and structure of the workers' households.

The term internal forces of the household refers to material and ideological pressures generated within the household due to changes in the structure and composition of this unit during the domestic cycle. In other words, as time passes, the socio-demographic changes occurring within the household produced by the birth, migration, and death of its members, lead to changes in their material and ideological conditions (Orlandina de Oliveira, Lehalleru and Salles 1989). For example, growing numbers of dependent family members lead to increasing economic pressure on the household's income generating capacity. Migration can increase or decrease the economic pressure on the household depending on whether the one who migrates is an income generator or not. If the individual who migrates contributed substantially to the household income, their migration (if they do not send remittances) increases economic pressure on the household for other individuals to increase their income generation to fulfill the household's needs. Changing material conditions lead to restructuring social relationships in the household, which may, in turn, lead to changed ideologies. However,


these changes are not direct and mechanical. Changes in social relationships within the household reflect new patterns of decision making and the assumption of different authority relationships within the household. Women, whether married, widowed, divorced, or separated are often forced to assume the role of primary income generator. These changes may lead to the women's assuming more authority in the household decision making.

Changing material and ideological conditions of the household strongly influence the way in which women are able to generate an income through their labor force participation, whether as wage laborers, or subcontracted industrial outworkersl. Social relationships within the household (such as those between the husband and the wife, the father and the daughter, the mother and the grandmother) structure home-based production. For example, the number of people available to assist in home-based production dictates to a large extent, the amount of work which can be performed. The work which is performed in the household, further, also alters the relations themselves. When women begin to work in the household, other members may assume the domestic tasks previously performed by these women. This research

hypothesizes that women household heads are less constrained by traditional ideological beliefs of the home as women's primary responsibility as compared to women who were spouses. In addition, wives are under less pressure (economically) to provide an additional income for the household.

Women's labor force incorporation is further conditioned by the demand for laborers as expressed in recruitment strategies of factories and the changing structure of production within the industry. Since June of 1989 the

1Subcontracted industrial outworkers refers to home-based workers whose work depends on contracts with larger industrial enterprises (the details of these contractual relationships will be discussed in depth in chapter 4).


managers of the multinational garment factory studied in this research expressed the policy practice of hiring only women under 25 years of age with a junior high education, preferably single with no children. Obviously these requirements limit the women who will be hired for work in this factory. This recruitment strategy was not expressed by the domestic factories, only those with mixed (national and international) capital.

In Colombia both the political and the economic situation have encouraged the development of small micro-enterprises subcontracted to the larger factories. In 1984 the government of Betancout introduced a National Plan of Microenterprises in order to increase production and generate employment. This plan was revised in 1988 to assist small-scale enterprises with minimal technological capacity to grow and generate more employment. Political conditions such as the National Plan of Microenterprises fostered changes in the structure of production by facilitating the initiation of new small-scale enterprises. Increasing the number of small-scale enterprises available for subcontracted outwork provided the larger capitalist enterprises with skilled home-based producers looking for a market in which to sell their garments. These changes influenced women"s labor force incorporation, augmenting the prevalence of subcontracting in the garment industry.

The description of home-based workers and factory workers presented in this research compares and contrast variables such as household structure and composition, the women's work history (i.e. when do women enter wage labor production, when do they leave this wage labor production to work in the home), and personal history (i.e. age at marriage or first union, her age at birth of first child, etc.). This study hypothesizes that the manner in which women are incorporated into the labor force (1) weakens organized labor through fragmentation of the labor process, (2) restructures production to the benefit of


the large industrialists within the garment industry, (3) increases the penetration of international capital into an intermediate industrializing community.

In order to unravel the complex relationships between women's household and workplace activities, this research considers factors at the level of the household, the workplace, and the regional and international economy. The factors at the household level include 1) household responsibilities such as child care, cooking, and cleaning, which constrain women's labor force incorporation (both in the factory and home-based situations); 2) the

relationships of industrial outworkers (once the wide variety of their situation has been described) to the factories; 3) the middlemen and their effect on the working conditions of these women; 4) the effect of women's labor force incorporation on the structure and composition of workers' households (both subcontracted industrial outworkers and home-based workers); and 5) renegotiation of gender relations in the home based on new income sources including the sexual division of labor and authority patterns.

At the workplace level the following aspects are considered 1) the organization of production in the factory; 2) changes in the structure of production, specifically subcontracting, as they affect women's labor force participation; 3) the new emphasis on exportation in the garment industry in this region in the last few years as it affects women's incorporation into the workforce; and 4) the mechanisms used by management to control women's labor in the factory setting.

These factors provide the framework for exploring the following research hypothesis: (1) women's domestic responsibilities limit her participation in the labor force. Therefore women with additional household responsibilities (especially mothers and wives) are more likely to participate in


home-based production than single women; (2) economic pressures on female headed households leads these women to assume positions in the factory, and

(3) male-and female headed households differ in household composition and household survival strategies, which in turn lead to different patterns of decision making and authority in the household.

At the workplace level, it is hypothesized that (1) informal methods of contracting labor in the factory are increasing due to the increasing competitiveness of the international market, leading to a search for even cheaper labor, and (2) the emphasis on diversification of exports has been accompanied by an increased production of garments, and increased competition in the garment industry.

This chapter provides a discussion of the methodological tools (both quantitative and qualitative) utilized in the study. Chapter Two discusses the theoretical framework, including an analysis of the relationship between industrialization and women's work, the productive and reproductive responsibilities of women, and the changes occurring in the structure of production and women's labor force incorporation with industrial development in Latin America. Chapter Three discusses the history of industrialization in Colombia, focusing on the research sites of Pereira and Dos Quebradas (Dos Quebradas is the industrializing region to the north of the city) in the department of Risaralda. Chapter Four describes the organization of work within the factory, highlighting changes occurring in the relations of production within the factory including mechanisms of control utilized by management. Next, Chapter Five describes the structure of the labor force and subcontracting mechanisms operating within the garment industry. Chapter Six provides a more in depth analysis of the domestic cycle of the households of female workers. Chapter Seven relates the domestic cycle analysis to


authority patterns in the household. The conclusion, Chapter Eight, details how industrial restructuring affects the structure and composition of households, and the strategies assumed by women in the households to assure the reproduction of these units.


The investigative process utilized included both quantitative (such as the design, implementation and analysis of a survey questionnaire, and the analysis of census data including data on manufacturing production) and qualitative research methodologies (such as key informant interviews, both structured and unstructured, participant observation, and historical archival research).

I completed the study in several stages. The first stage involved development and refinement of the research survey which had been devised after a 3-month study in the textile city of Medellin, Colombia in 1986. During this stage, census data was consulted in order to determine the most appropriate city for a study of the garment industry. Experts in the area were also consulted for their comments on the study and the survey instrument. In order to address the social construction and reproduction of gender hierarchies, the questionnaire implemented analyzes the influence of family cycles on women's patterns of wage labor; what resources household members exchange; the difference between pre- and postmarital occupational histories; and current insertion into homework and wage labor.

Stage two of the study involved travel to Pereira, and pre-testing of the survey instrument there (see Figures 1.2 and 1-3). During this stage,


government officials, local leaders, university professors and union organizers were consulted to determine the appropriateness of the survey and the study site. Other data on the neighborhoods in the region, the urbanization of different cities in the department, and statistics on the production and exportation of garments was also gathered in determining the history of the garment industry in the region.

The first part of the third phase of the study involved interviewing the factory owners, choosing the factories that would be included in the study, and acquiring lists of workers for the interviews. The second part of this phase of the study involved choosing the assistants, training them, and implementing the survey instrument with factory workers. With the assistance of workers of the Servicio Educacional Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA, as will be described in detail later), homeworkers were contacted. By December, 1988 the interviews with 75 factory workers from two different factories had been finished, and reviewed. A preliminary summary of the study was presented in Pereira in November, 1988. A preliminary analysis of the data was presented to the Fulbright Foundation in January of 1989.

The fourth phase of the study was initiated on my return to the site in February 1989. During this time I finished coding the interviews which had been completed with factory workers, and continued working with one interviewer. Through her we located some additional homeworkers and found additional factory workers who had not been on the original lists from the factory. In-depth interviews with these workers were completed during February and March. In March and April I worked with SENA officials interviewing home-based workers. In total, 120 worker interviews were completed. Excluding the 10 pre-test interviews, 110 interviews are utilized in this analysis: 35 interviews were completed with home-based workers, and 75


interviews with factory workers (40 from the multinational factory, 35 from the national factory). During this time, I also participated in a seminar sponsored by the local unions and was able to interview the leader of the only garment factory union in the department. In March and April I worked with a women's savings and loan cooperative. Although these women were generally not factory workers, they were very active in the community, and helpful in locating other home-based garment workers.

Survey Methodology

The city of Pereira in Colombia was chosen as the site of research due to the predominance of garment production in the region. The study utilized a number of techniques. The interview was the principal method of collecting information about the home-based workers and the factory workers (see Appendix A for a copy of the survey utilized with factory workers and homebased workers). The goal of this interview was two-fold: in addition to describing the structure and composition of these workers' households (emphasizing income generating strategies), a description of the personal and work histories of these women factory workers was obtained. This was done in order to determine the role of the domestic environment and cycle of the household in women's labor force incorporation. The survey instrument was revised and discussed after a month of research by sociologists and anthropologists in Bogotd. The interview was revised one more time after consultation with other professors and professionals in Pereira, and a third time after conducting ten trial interviews in that city. The initial sample list of workers was chosen (every tenth name in the list of workers) by the personnel


manager of the large export factory. This list, however, was expanded utilizing the snowball method to discover other workers.

The interview schedule addressed concerns of the women workers (determined, as previously mentioned by pre-tests of the survey with the women workers, discussions with community workers in Pereira, and university professors familiar with the sociology of the region). The interview described and analyzed the women's material conditions, (including factors such as limited access to resources, lower wages, etc) and their ideological constructs (such as household authority patterns) in part through an exploration of the social relationships (such as marriage and the birth of children) which constrain or facilitate women's incorporation into the labor force. Studying women's labor force participation in the home as well as in the factory in a single industrial activity delineates factors which constrain women's labor force participation.

In order to avoid a narrow focus on the household and factors affecting the supply of women workers, the structure of the labor market, and preferential hiring practices of the larger factories were incorporated into the methodology through interviews with the factory owners. These interviews explored factors which influence the demand for women workers and further constrain women's incorporation into the labor force. One aspect of demand for women's labor in Colombia is the governmental policy encouraging the development of small-scale enterprises (first implemented in 1984, and revised in 1988). The impact that this policy has on structuring women's labor force incorporation (wage-labor, as well as home-based) will be analyzed using information from these interviews.
This interview schedule for the factory owners was modified in Bogotd and then again in Pereira (see Appendix B). In total 40 owners were

interviewed. It was applied to all owners of small, medium and large sized garment factories in Pereira and Dos Quebradas (the industrializing region to the north of the city; administratively Dos Quebradas is part of the municipal area of Pereira) who agreed to participate in the study. The goal of this interview was to determine the composition of the work force in these factories, outline the chain of subcontracting in the city, and uncover recruitment strategies of the factories.

The sample of factories was chosen through the assistance of two groups. The major contact with the owners of the large factories was ANDI (The National Association of Industrialists) while the contact with small organizations was ACOPI (the Colombian Association of Popular Industries). A representative of each of seven large garment factories in Pereira and Dos Quebradas was interviewed, and representatives of 80% of those factories registered with ACOPI participated in the study. Some factories which participated in the production process through subcontracting, but did not appear in the list of ANDI nor in ACOPI, were discovered. In other words, during the interview with owners of factories from ANDI or ACOPI, factories would be mentioned as those which were subcontracted to or from which material was received, who did not appear in the original lists. The managers of these factories were then approached for interviews.

After the initial interviews with the managers of the seven large factories, two were chosen for more in-depth studies, in order to compare the production process and women's labor force incorporation, between exportoriented factories with mixed capital and those which were oriented towards the domestic market. The largest export factory in the region was chosen because of its predominance in industrial production in the region. The other factory chosen for the study was one which did not export, but rather produced


for the domestic market. The owners of these factories collaborated in suggesting the names of workers for the interviews. (Although it is possible that this collaboration introduced some bias into the sample, it was impossible to interview the workers without the permission of the managers. However, where possible, the social network method was used to uncover friends of these workers, and individuals who had been fired from the factory were sought out for additional information on working conditions in the factories.)

The sample of domestic outworkers was chosen by asking the larger factories to indicate who produced for them (small-scale enterprises, or homebased workers). When the factories did not submit workers' names, a social network of the home-based workers known by workers in other factories was utilized. This method involved asking the workers if they knew other women who worked sewing in their homes. In this way, twenty subcontracted industrial outworkers were found. Also, the SENA (National Vocational Training School) assisted in the location of home-based workers and smallscale garment entrepreneurs. The SENA conducts courses in sewing skills geared to particular factories, as well as providing courses in how to start up a small enterprise in garments, including courses in design, cutting, and marketing. This governmental institution also serves as a placement agency for these workers and small-scale enterprises. The woman responsible for organizing the classes for small-scale enterprises allowed me to accompany her on her home visits. I was also permitted to attend classes in SENA and interview participants outside of class hours. I actually took garment classes for a week (to learn the basic stitches and procedures taught in the introductory courses). I attempted to work in a factory, but this was impossible for insurance reasons (according to the personnel managers). Apparently because of the


pressure on the workers, there was a high incidence of work-related injuries in this factory.

Three women, graduates of the local university in social sciences, were contracted to assist in the interviews after finishing with the trial interviews. These assistants were helpful in finding women who worked in the garment industry in Pereira and Dos Quebradas. They completed two 3-hr sessions of training to ensure their understanding of the interview technique. The interviews with the workers in general, lasted from 1 to 1.5 hours. The assistants were initially paid $2.00 an interview; however one interviewer who was exceptionally good and assisted in more depth with other aspects of the analysis was later re-hired at the rate of $3.00 an hour. The assistants completed 50 interviews with the workers in the two larger factories. I completed the trial interviews with the workers (about 15), some interviews with factory workers

(20), interviews with the owners of the factories (41) and the domestic outworkers (35). The final sample consisted of 40 workers of one export factory, 35 operators of one factory producing for the domestic market and 35 domestic outworkers.

Other quantified information, including data from the manufacturing census, and the household census of 1977, 1980 and 1987 was utilized in determining the social structure of the region. Initially this data was used to determine the site of study (i.e. an area where the production of garments was predominant). Later, this information was used to complement the analysis of labor force participation in the areas of Pereira and Dos Quebradas.


Qualitative Data

Primary sources of qualitative information included interviews with garment workers and key informants such as local leaders of credit unions, women's organizations, civic societies, labor organizations, and professors in the university. Follow-up unstructured interviews with 3 women workers provided more in-depth information on women's insertion into the labor force, exploring their work and family history in more depth than the initial survey interviews. Newspaper articles of the two major local papers (El Diario del Otun, and La Tarde) were consulted from their initiation in the 1940s till 1989. For this process, two assistants from the National University in Bogotd were hired to help review the papers (only from 1980's on) and collect articles on garment production and industrialization in the area of Pereira and Dos Quebradas.

Secondary sources for qualitative information include books on regional development of the 'Old Caldas' region, several student theses from the Technological University in Pereira, and data from the National Planning Office.

Perhaps the most difficult part of the research was gathering information through interviews. In Colombia, individuals do not grant interviews if they have nothing to gain. The identity of the person who makes the interview contact for the researcher was very important. I was fortunate to have been introduced to the director of the ANDI (Associacion Nacional de Industrias)in Pereira. She later provided me with a letter of introduction for the large factory owners in the region. An introduction by a University of Florida


alumnus provided me with contacts to ACOPI (Asociaci6n Colombiana de Populares Industrias) for medium and small factories. This organization further assisted me in Pereira, providing me with a telephone and office space.

In establishing relationships with homeworkers, building trust was the key to successful interviews. Because the interviews intruded into the settings of the women workers and their families, it was important for me to reciprocate their attention towards me with offers of my time, assistance, friendship, or a listening ear for their problems. The initial strategy was to walk in the barrios, spend time getting to know the children, and then ask if their mothers worked in the home. However, even after getting to know the children, the mothers were suspicious of my activities, and few were willing to grant me an interview. It was only after meeting people in a government office which provided training in sewing and garment production for women (SENA) that I was able to make inroads into the production in the home. The SENA had a program for the development of small-scale enterprises, and also a project for assisting women who worked in their homes. SENA personnel allowed me to travel with them on their home visits, and I was able to get to know the women, home-based workers and small-scale entrepreneurs in a more personal way. With the introduction of the SENA worker, the women trusted me more, and we were able to talk about their work in a more favorable environment.
The following chapter considers the theoretical significance of women's labor force incorporation. Women's labor force participation is considered as part of a strategy of industrial capital to incorporate more vulnerable labor, through restructuring and fragmentation of the production process.



Conoci a mi esposo en Top 10, Yo trabaje como fileteadora, y el cortaba la tela.. Lucia, operaria de confeccion

I met my husband in the garment factory Top 10, 1 was working as a fileteadora (finishing edges), and he worked cutting the cloth. Lucia, factory worker

This chapter begins with an analysis of the impact of industrialization on the sexual division of labor (both in the household and in the workplace). Essential to this analysis is a discussion of women's labor, considering productive and reproductive responsibilities which occur in both the workplace and the home. Because women's labor force participation is conditioned by their household responsibilities, women cannot be considered only as workers, but must also be considered as daughters, wives, sisters, aunts or mothers. Domestic responsibilities often limit women's possibilities for employment in the 'formal sector', concentrating them in the unregulated or 'informal' sector of the economy (Redclift and Mingione 1985). Women's labor force participation is considered as part of a strategy of industrial



capitalists to incorporate more vulnerable labor, through restructuring and fragmentation of the production process.

The discussion follows with an analysis of informal sector expansion'. The new international division of labor is considered as a mechanism leading to increasing fragmentation of the production process, augmenting 'informal sector' production. Home-based workers (considered part of the 'informal sector' in this research) are 'cheaper' than factory workers; not only are their salaries lower, but they require little or no investment in infrastrucure or social benefits. In order to understand the mechanisms which create, modify and reproduce this 'informalization' a comparison of industrial outwork occuring during the transition to capitalism in eighteenth century Europe is made with that of capitalist development in contemporary Latin America. The introduction of large scale factory production and its impact on social relations in the household are considered. The conclusion discusses the significance of the expansion of the informal sector and increasing

'Many scholars criticize the term informal sector. While its value as a descriptive measure is often conceded, its usefulness as an analytical category is fiercely debated. Researchers argue that the informality observed in the economy is actually a very functional part of the formal sector. However, according to scholars such as Portes and Sassen-Koob, the profound economic crisis of the industrialized capitalist countries (since the mid 1970's) led to the development of new mechanisms to adjust for the lack of demand for products, and avoid substantial reductions in industrial profits. These strategies assumed by capitalists include transferring plants to countries where costs would be reduced, robotization of the factory (industrial conversion), experiments to increase workers productivity, and informalization (Portes 1983). In this case, informalization is a strategy utilized by capitalists to assure their flexibility and adaptation and minimize their costs. In this research, the term informal sector must be understood as a dynamic concept, as part of the global process of restructuring production, facilitating the competition of national and multi-national factories in the international market.


fragmentation of the labor force for women's labor force incorporation and the reproduction of the working class household.

The Household as Mediator of Women's Labor Force Incorporation

An analysis of women's labor force incorporation (be it in the factory or industrial subcontracting) must include social relations of production as well as social relations of reproduction (both of the domestic unit and the workplace). Social relations of production in this study refer to the economic ownership of productive forces (land, labor, and capital in strict marxist terms). In other words, while the factory worker only owns her/his labor power, the industrialist owns the machinery and the raw material required for production. These conditions may differ in the case of small scale producers, as will be seen in the discussion of subcontracting in chapter four. Social relations of reproduction in this research emphasize two levels of reproduction: the daily (and the generational) and the biological. The daily level of reproduction includes cooking, child care, washing, cleaning, and maintaining the household which over time leads to the reproduction of a generation of workers (Harris and Young 1981). Women's reproductive labor (involving activities such as giving birth to children, cooking, cleaning, and childcare) influence women's incorporation into the wage labor force. Both productive and reproductive functions of the household change over time (as children grow, enter school, leave school and enter the work force). An analysis of the household and its internal dynamics is essential for understanding the influence of the domestic environment on women's labor force participation. For this reason, when analyzing women's labor force


incorporation, this research considers both women's factory based productive

activities, as well as her household responsibilities.

Lamphere (1987) demonstrates the interrelationship between the two

spheres in the following quote:

Production entails reproduction, and there are elements of both productive labor and reproductive labor in the factory and in the household. When women are tending spinning frames or looms, they are producing a product (cloth) but their labor is set in a system of social relations in which they sell their labor for a wage and work for someone who owns the machinery and the factory they work in. . Yet there are also elements of reproduction in the factory or textile mill. The means of production must be reproduced or replaced, that is, the machinery needs to be repaired, the buildings refurbished ... the social relations of production, the divisions between owners, managers, and workers, need to be reproduced through the continuous replacement of individuals in these categories and through the socialization of workers and managers to their jobs, including an acceptance of the system as legitimate (Lamphere
1987 p. 18)

However, the terms production and reproduction must not be used as
synonyms for household and workplace. They are rather analytic concepts

which describe relationships and changes which occur in either place.

There are ways in which productionm" finds its way into the home, even though most productive work does not take place there under either industrial or monopoly capitalism. First, the organization and scheduling of work impinge on and determine the family's schedule for eating, sleeping, and leisure time.
Second, the wages paid to adult male workers determine whether other members of the family will work for wages in order to provide subsistence for the household. Third ... their participation in the labor force may necessitate the reallocation
of reproductive labor within the home.(Lamphere 1987, 18).

As Lamphere demonstrates, the relationship between productive and
reproductive tasks is complex and dynamic. Household activities involved
in the daily reproduction of the labor force generally occur alongside activities


oriented towards market production. Since reproductive tasks of the

household are considered women's responsibilities, women's labor force participation is more dramatically affected by reproductive responsibilities than men's. Domestic labor which has traditionally been the women's responsibility constrains women's participation in market oriented production. Therefore women's responsibilities for reproductive activities determine in large part her possible productive activities. These tasks inhibit or constrain women, especially middle aged married women, from selling their labor in the market. Because the labor of these women is consumed within the household, these workers have more difficulty working outside of the home.

Family or Household

Before proceeding with an analysis of changes occurring in the household during capitalist development, the concepts "family" and "'household" must be clearly defined. The term "'household" refers to a coresident group of persons who share most aspects of consumption, drawing on and allocating a common pool of resources (including labor) to ensure their material reproduction (Margulis 1980, Schmink 1984, Yanagisako 1979, Jelin 1977, Harris 1981). Households are not necessarily based on kin relationships, though a family and a household may in some cases be equivalent. "Family" then refers to an institution based on kin relationships governed by established socio-cultural practices. These individuals do not necessarily share a common residence or commonly pool their resources.


Historical works document variations in household and family composition through time (Aries 1973; Arizpe 1977; Stolcke 1981). The structure and composition of households also varies with the life-stages and socio-economic income generating strategies of its members. The impact of life cycle (elaborated in more detail in chapter six) on women's production and reproductive responsibilities illustrates that life cycle is a major factor in labor recruitment policies and strongly affects who is hired for particular jobs. For example, as this research will demonstrate, daughters are preferred by the multi-national factories. They are more flexible in their work hours (i.e. more available for unscheduled overtime), and less likely to miss work because of family problems. In addition, life cycle affects the way in which women regard their earnings and the contributions they make toward the household economy (Safa 1990). This case will be discussed in more detail in chapter seven.

The impact of industrialization on families and households can be seen in changing household strategies for income generation. The household organizes labor for productive as well as reproductive tasks. For example, as the ratio of workers to consumers changes over time, the income generating activities of the women also change. It is hypothesized that ideological and time constraints assigning domestic responsibilities to women, pull them back into the home when other household members (especially children) assume their income generating activities. As a result, both the composition and the structure of households have a direct impact on women's lives, on their labor for both market oriented and industrial outworking activities, and in particular on their ability to gain access to resources, to labor and to income.


However, the household cannot be conceived of as existing in isolation, but rather is embedded in a specific socio-economic class in a community within a certain geographical region. All these factors affect women's access to and control of resources. Extra-household kin

relationships are also important in regulating women's access to and control of resources. In the case of garment workers in Risaralda, kinship networks are important in obtaining work and machinery for women to perform work in the home (to be discussed in relation to the garment workers in more detail in chapter five).

Female-headed Households

The concept of the female-headed household is growing in importance. According to the household headship reported by the women workers, approximately 30% (35/110), were female headed. However, when women's position within the household was analyzed, over 50 percent of the workers interviewed classified as female household heads, considering the major economic provider as household head (the difference between reported household headship and headship considering economic contribution to the budget will be further analyzed in chapter 6). In the case of Risaralda, Colombia, it appears that rapid industrialization based largely on women's labor force participation has led to a high degree of female-headed households in the urban areas.

International data reviewed on the socioeconomics of women heads of household suggest a direct linkage between processes of modernization -- particularly those stemming from economic development and its policies -- and the rise of households headed by women. . Most studies suggest that explanatory

factors for female family headship should be sought in both internal and international migration; mechanization of agriculture; the development of agribusiness; urbanization; overpopulation; lower class marginality, and the emergence of a class system of wage labor -- all of which are integral parts/ consequences of rapid economic transformation. (Buvinic
and Youseff 1978 p.iii, italics mine.)

Female household heads may be women who are widowed, separated, abandoned, divorced, or single mothers. In Colombia many women were separated from a legal marriage, but few were divorced. Low wages and high male unemployment contribute to preferences for non-legalized unions as opposed to marriage and to precipitating the break-up of such unions (Buvinic and Youseff 1978). Often female heads of households are part of consensual unions which have dissolved. This research frequently found that women considered themselves "single" after ending a consensual union which had resulted in children. However, to understand the impact that the demand for workers has on women's labor force incorporation, we must now consider how industry pressures households to develop new survival strategies and to devise new patterns of labor allocation.

Women's Labor Force Incorporation

Industrialization has changed the structure of Latin American societies. As women become increasingly incorporated into the labor force, the structure and composition of households is transformed. In Colombia, women provide labor for the development of both national and international industries. Keremitsis (1984) documents how womens labor fueled the development of the textile industry in Mexico and Colombia. As machinery

2Because of Colombia's close tie to the Catholic Church , divorce is difficult.


modernized jobs in the textile mills, women laborers were channeled into other directions such as the "informal" labor market (Keremitsis 1984). Since the first textile industries began in the Antioquefto region of Colombia in the early part of this century women's labor has spurred the process of capitalist development.
Women have always constituted a source of cheap labor for industrial capitalism (Saffioti 1978), however, the way in which women are incorporated into the labor force is not homogeneous. Their incorporation into the labor force differs according to a number of variables including their ethnicity, class and the stage of national development of the country (Safa 1977). The characteristics of women workers also differ regionally within the same country. In Pereira, Risaralda, as will be demonstrated in chapter three, the significance of the garment industry in regional development leads to a labor market structure in which female participation in manufacturing industry is higher than it may be in other regions of the country3.

One of the first scholars to provide a comparative analysis of women's work based on data from a wide range of societies, Ester Boserup, emphasizes gender as a significant factor in the division of labor. Boserup (1970) analyzes factors affecting the sexual division of labor in agriculture, fler comparison of male and female systems of farming corresponds to the African system of shifting agriculture and the Asian system of plow cultivation. She was one of the first theoreticians to emphasize that women's subsistence activities are 3in 1985 of 26,031 individuals employed in the manufacturing industry in Risaralda, 30 percent were employed in garment production. Of 11,453 women who worked in the manufacturing industry in the region, 4,394 were women associated with garment production (approximately 40 percent). Sixty six percent of the total work force in garments are women. Of 14,578 men who worked in the manufacturing industry, only 16 percent worked in garment production, the majority as mechanics and supervisors.


usually omitted in statistics of production and income (1970:163). In addition, Boserup's comparative analysis projected the different sexual division of labor encountered in farming systems onto patterns of women's participation in non-agricultural activities. Boserup's work has been criticized, however, for neglecting the concept of reproduction (Beneria and Sen 1981). Although Boserup discusses technological changes introduced with commercial agriculture, her modernization perspective leads to the conclusion that this change is generally beneficial to society, if not to women. The assumption that modernization is generally a neutral process, ignores the fact that it generates and intensifies inequalities, making use of existing gender and class hierarchies to subordinate women and men (both within the household and within the workplace). Boserup's analysis focuses solely on women's productive role, neglecting the effect of reproduction on the sexual division of labor.

In order to understand the theoretical importance of women's labor force incorporation, the historical moments when this labor force participation increase, and/or changes its form, must be considered. Women's incorporation into the industrial labor force generally occurred during early periods of industrialization (as in Europe, with England being the classical case); during times of economic and/or political crisis (as in the United States during the Second World War); in situations where extreme competition forces industry to minimize operation costs, and/or restructuring of the labor process (such as the increase in clerical workers in the United States in the 1970s, and more recently the restructuring of manufacturing), and when production remains labor intensive (as in the case of the garment industry). The next section considers women's labor force


incorporation and the development of industrial capitalism as it occurred in eighteenth century England.

Women's Labor Force Incorporation and the Development of Industrial Capitalism

Prior to the onset of industrialization, manufacturing and agriculture were performed on a much smaller scale in the home in feudalistic Europe. The home was the physical location of the reproduction of daily life, as well as production for the market. Under these conditions, a division of labor developed within the home or workshop. In the textile industry, for example, women spun thread, while men frequently wove cloth.

As industrialization developed, productive activities were broken down into a series of tasks. The different functions were arranged hierarchically depending on factors such as knowledge of the process, strength, and manual abilities. As production became increasingly technified and modernized, machines began to perform the labor of workers, and production moved out of the home. Under industrial capitalism, initially the location of production shifted from the household to the factory. The factory replaced the household as the center of productive activity because it was better suited to the technified production of larger machinery. Under this arrangement, a new division of labor emerged in which the worker became merely an appendage of the machinery.

Along with the tool, the skill of the workman (sic) in
handling it passes over to the machine . Thereby the technical foundation on which is based the division of labor in manufacture is swept away. Hence, in the place of the hierarchy of specialized workmen (sic) that characteristics manufacture, there steps, in the automatic factory, a tendency to equalize and reduce to one and the same level every kind of work that has to

be done by the minders of the machines; in the place of the artificially produced differentiations of the detail workmen, step
natural differences of age and sex.(Marx 1967, p. 420).

Initially industrialization tended to substitute unskilled labor for skilled, female labor for male, young labor for mature (Marx 1967).

In so far as machinery dispenses with muscular power, it
becomes a means of employing laborers of slight muscular strength, and those whose bodily development is incomplete, but whole limbs are all the more supple. The labor of women and children was, therefore, the first thing sought for by capitalist who used machinery. That mighty substitute for labour and laborers was forthwith changed into a means for increasing the number of wage-laborers by enrollingunder the direct sway of capital, every member of the workman's family,
without distinction of age or sex (p.394).

Early theoreticians of women's work generally viewed this labor force incorporation as liberating (Marx 1967; Engels 1972):

Since large-scale industry has transferred the woman from
the house to the labor market and the factory and makes her, often enough, the bread-winner of the family, the last remnants of male domination in the proletarian home have lost all
foundation (Engels 1968, p. 508).

Vogel criticized the notion of separation of reproduction from other productive relations, arguing that although Engels conceptualized the family as a significant analytical category, he failed to specify how the family functioned within the overall process of social reproduction. Vogel (1983) also critiqued this interpretation of women's labor force incorporation as liberating. On the one hand, women"s labor force incorporation provides an income for these women which may permit them to exercise more power in the household (as is explored later in this text). However, the reproductive


responsibilities of women in the household (the biological, daily, and generational) continue, especially for women who are mothers and wives. Therefore, she argued, labor force incorporation is not "liberating" for women.

With the development of the factory system, women whose primary responsibility was the household, became dependent on the husband for their income. The household was no longer the unit of production, rather individuals within the household (particularly men) became responsible for the income of the entire household. Both push and pull factors affected women's income generating activities. When factories needed "cheaper" workers, women were pulled into factory employment, often in positions subordinate to men. The significance of the male's primary role as breadwinner, subordinated the role of women workers (and their salaries) legitimizing management's perception of the women workers as "'cheaper". In the lower income brackets, the depressed income of male wage earners necessitates the employment of women. The low household income pushes women into the labor force in these sectors. However, in all cases, these women in the wage labor force were not only income generators, but often also housewives and mothers. Participation in factory labor did not reduce their household responsibilities.

Women's labor force incorporation under industrial development may therefore be described as contradictory (Lim 1983). Benefits derived from income generated by the women who leave the home to work necessitate increasing the women's work load unless other family members assume the household responsibilities. Industrial development further fragmented the production process into a hierarchy of tasks. This increasing technification often led to the replacement of women for men in the labor force,


disadvantaging women and leading to changes in the social relations of production. These changes will be discussed in the next section.

Changes in the Social Relations of Production

The gradual displacement of cottage production based in the home with industrial development in eighteenth century England, resulted in the incorporation of young, single daughters of farm families into factory work; often these were women who stopped working as soon as they were able to marry (Fernandez-Kelly 1983). Under these conditions, women's lives were divided into a paid productive phase and an unpaid reproductive phase in which their activities were for the most part directed towards the renewal of the labor force as purely housewives and mothers (Safa 1987).

Braverman (1974) demonstrates how, on the one hand, fragmentation in the labor process degrades labor, breaking down and simplifying tasks which permit the use of less skilled labor in one or more parts of the tasks wrestling control out of the hands of the worker. On the other hand, this leads to increased production for industrialists, cheapening the cost of labor, and therefore increasing profits, as well as increasing control by management over the labor process.

The centralization of work in the factory permitted industrialists to determine the process of production: what would be produced, the rate at which it would be produced, how many of certain articles would be produced, and when they would be produced. Workers lost control of the article they were producing which not only made them more vulnerable to capital, but also increasingly alienated them from their work.


The success of work organization in the factory in the United States and European industrial contexts resulted in part from changes in the control of the work process: workers' control over the production process in the household was replaced by management's control in the factory. The intensification of task specialization under monopoly capitalism increases management's control over the work process (Baran and Sweezy 1966). In Colombia, this research demonstrate a similar process. Factory workers perform only one part of the production process one seam, one pleat, one sleeve, cuff, etc. In addition to fragmenting the production of different articles, the workers were also moved from one workshop to another. In other words, when one workshop completed an order of women's dresses, a worker would be moved to a workshop of men's shirts (if she was lucky enough to have her her contract renewed). The fragmentation of production is furthered by the increasing informalization of work in the factory. Workers are hired only for the production of specific garments. .
The assembly line production and the organization of the large-scale enterprises at the turn of the century in Europe was organized specifically to increase control and profits for capital (Baran and Sweezy 1966). Contrary to the idea that specialization increases the skills needed by each worker so that they may be more knowledgeable and in greater control of the production process, in a society based on the purchase and sale of labor power, dividing the craft actually cheapens the cost of labor for producing the individual parts. In this way, subcontracting part of the work further divides the labor (outside the factory setting whereas the assembly line divides it within the factory setting), once again cheapening the labor costs involved in producing the garment.


Monopoly Capital and Women's Labor Force Incorporation

During the latter half of the twentieth century a substantially different structure of industrialization has emerged. Baran and Sweezy (1966) elaborate on this new stage of development called monopoly capitalism. While monopoly capitalism decreases the need for workers in certain sectors of the labor force, it creates demands for workers in new production branches. Under the stage of monopoly capital, big businesses use all available methods
- organizational and technological to decrease their risks and losses (Sokoloff 1980). Under monopoly capitalism there is a systematic tendency for surplus to increase dramatically (Baran and Sweezy 1966). By controlling prices among the few major corporations in a field, the large companies maximize their profits more efficiently. Management increases its control over the production process (including decisions regarding production and sale of commodities such as the type, price, quantity and quality of products.) However, control over markets and increased control over production by large corporations are not the only new elements of monopoly capitalism. Monopoly capitalism also leads to new forms of social organization.

With the rise of monopolies, new forms of social
organization began to appear. The expanding commodity market of products and services effected a historic break in the relationship between women and industry. It is possible that monopoly capital was more decisive for the lives of most working-class women than the rise of capitalism itself. The need for controlled markets demanded a mobilization of all social resources for potential profit (Blaxandall, Ewen and Gordon


According to Edwards, Reich, and Gordon (1980), the development of monopoly capitalism in the United States divided the working class:

The central thrust of the new strategies (to divide and
conquer workers) was to break down the increasingly unified worker interests that grew out of both the proletarianization of work and the concentration of workers in urban areas. As exhibited in several aspects of these large firms operations, this effort aimed to divide the labor force into various segments so that the actual experiences of workers would be different and the basis of their common opposition to capitalists would be
undermined (p. xiii).

Theoreticians concerned with the impact of monopoly capitalism on women's labor force incorporation argue that the creation of large amounts of surplus value under monopoly capitalism led to the creation of new industries which employed primarily women. Among these new industries was the development of the service sector which led to increasing incorporation of women into the labor force. However, women were not only increasingly employed in the service industries under monopoly capitalism, but also in the industrial sector. In certain aspects of this sector (especially the garment industry), unskilled tasks continued to dominate production, and women's labor force incorporation increased.
While women generally are increasingly incorporated into the labor force during the twentieth century in low waged and unskilled tasks, some women are being pushed out with the development of more capital intensive techniques of production. While monopoly capitalism has pulled women increasingly into the labor force, new levels of technological development organized to maximize profits and the accumulation of surplus have contradictory consequences for women's labor (Sokoloff 1980, p. 91). Some of these contradictory consequences can be seen in more detail in the analysis of


the new international division of labor. The new international division of labor represents yet another phase of monopoly capitals increasing control over the production process. No longer bound by national sovereignty, these entities continue to maximize profit generation by reorganizing the production process on a global level.

The New International Division of Labor

The new international division of labor refers to the restructuring of production on a global scale. Traditionally the international division of labor consisted in the exportation of raw materials by Third World countries to more industrialized countries where they were processed and marketed. These "Third World" countries then bought manufactured goods from the "First World" at a much higher price. The next phase, import substitution industrialization was promoted by the Economic Council on Latin America in the 1960s. Import substitution industrialization encouraged the domestic production of goods formerly imported. As Safa (1990) notes, in many Latin American countries this industrialization was financed by dividends earned from agricultural production or by foreign capital. In the past decade, the policy of import substitution industrialization has been replaced by one of export promotion. This represents a new stage in the international division of labor, and therefore the name, the New International Division of Labor.

* Export manufacturing represents a new stage in the
international division of labor in which developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are becoming exporters of manufacturing goods to advanced industrial countries ... Contrary to import substitution, the new trend seems to encourage foreign investment by minimizing the importance of national

boundaries and allowing market mechanisms to operate without constraint. Import substitution required the development of an internal market, which had to be supported through the extension of domestic purchasing power to the middle and working classes. In export manufacturing, however, the market is entirely external. It demands the maximum reduction of production costs, principally wages, in order to
compete effectively on the international level (Safa 1990a, p. 2).

The new international division of labor fosters women"s employment

(because they are "cheaper") by multinational corporations (Nash and

Fernandez-Kelly 1985). This employment generates contradiction by

providing economic opportunities for these women (Lim 1983) while also

intensifying and reinforcing their subordinate position in society through

the way in which they are incorporated into the labor process (Elson and

Pearson 1981, Ward 1990).

From plants in the Third World, multinational
subsidiaries export manufactures to their home countries. From their home countries they import capital and technology in exchange. Cheap labor, combined in many cases with government subsidized capital costs, including tax holidays and low interest loans from government banks give these countries a comparative advantage in world trade in labor intensive
It is labor intensive industries, then, that tend to relocate
manufacturing plants to developing countries, thereby becoming multinational in their operations. This is a rational competitive response to changing international comparative cost advantages
(Lim 1983: 72).

An example of women's labor force incorporation in order for

industries to minimize operation costs can be seen in the relatively recent

expansion of export processing zones, and the development of factories which
perform only assembly operations. This offshore manufacturing represents a
new strategy of capital investments which is linked to a reorganization of the


international division of labor (Frobel, Heinrichs, Kreye 1979; Nash and Fernandez-Kelly 1983).

Offshore manufacturing enables the transfer of labor intensive aspects of the productive process to peripheral areas, with the incorporation of large numbers of women into direct manufacturing activities in these areas (Nash and Fernandez-Kelly 1983; Safa 1982). Historically the first example of this offshore production occurred in Puerto Rico during the 1950"s in Operation Bootstrap (Safa 1974). More recent examples of this can be seen in Asian countries (Lim 1983; Mies 1988; Sen 1980), the Mexican-American border (Fernand ez-Kell y 1985) and off-shore production characteristic of the Caribbean (Safa 1981). These industries demonstrate a preference for young, single, women who are perceived as cheaper and more docile than men.

The so-called "feminization of the labor force" results, in large part, from an emphasis on labor flexibility in both developing and industrialized economies (Standing 1989). Not only are women being substituted for men, but men's jobs are also being transformed into low wage, unstable employment, typical of traditional women's jobs. Standing (1989) traces this "'feminization of labor" to the global economic situation beginning in the late 1970's. The rise in low income countries' participation as manufacturing exporters, increasingly rapid rates of lending, increased technological innovation, and more intense international competition reinforced the supply side ideology focusing on market mechanisms and cost competitiveness as key determinants of economic development. Increased trade liberalization and export promotion policies result from this emphasis. Therefore, in order to increase profits, governments are removing labor market regulations, eroding union strength, and increasing the use of temporary, part time, and subcontracted workers. Colombia is no exception.


These policies further reduce worker's (both men's and women's) possibilities
for skilled employment and income securities. The following quote

demonstrates this trend:

At the same time, industrial enterprises have been
introducing modern technologies that have been associated with changing skill and job structures. The debate over the deskilling or upgrading effects of modern technology is unresolved, but the evidence seems to support two pertinent trends. The use of craft skills learned via apprentices and prolonged on-the-job learning have declined; such crafts have traditionally been dominated by male "labor aristocracies."
Second, there is a trend toward skill polarization, consisting of an elite of technically skilled, high status specialist workers possessing higher level institutional qualifications, coupled with a larger mass of technically semiskilled production and subsidiary workers requiring minor training typically imparted through short term courses of a few weeks or even by on the job
learning. (Standing 1989, p.938 )

Lim (1983) states that third world women workers are the most heavily
exploited group of workers in the world, both relative to their output

contribution and relative to other groups. Although all experience capitalist
exploitation, third world women workers are additionally subject to what she

terms "imperialist exploitation" and "patriarchal exploitation".

Imperialist exploitation the differential in wages paid to workers in developed and developing countries for the same work and output arises from the ability of multinationals to take advantage of different labor market conditions in different parts of the world a perfectly rational practice in the context of world capitalism. In the developing countries, high unemployment, poor bargaining power vis-a-vis the foreign investor, lack of worker organization and representation and even the repression of workers' movements, all combine to depress wage levels, while the lack of industrial experience, ignorance and naivete of workers with respect to the labor practice in modern factory employment enable multinational employers to extract higher
output from them in certain unskilled operations.

Patriarchal exploitation-the differential in wages paid to
male and female workers for similar work and output-derives from women's inferior position in the labor market .(Lim 1983:

In the context of the current international economic and political situation in the late 1980's, Latin American countries (including Colombia) must reorganize their economies in response to increasing international financial problems. Reduced reliance on salaried workers earning fixed wages and fringe benefits enables factories to cut production costs in order to meet international competition. Increased reliance on 'cheaper' sources of labor such as women working at home, and reduction in factory wages increase international competitiveness. As noted above, these economic problems have resulted in a shift from direct to indirect employment. In other words, this restructuring has led to a revival of industrial outwork and subcontracting increasing production in the "informal sector".

The Informal Sector

Scholars of industrialization in Latin America debate the degree to which informal sector production and employment can be isolated and analyzed as separate from that of the formal economy (Portes 1983, Portes, Castells and Benton 1989)4 Although the informal sector was originally equated with the traditional subsistence sector opposed to economic modernization which occurs in the "market" (Geertz 1963), this dualistic

4Portes states that a substantial "informal proletariat" provides the urban formal sector with the extra-market means of production. According to his hypothesis, the urban informal proletariat is readily identifiable since it a) does not receive regular money wages; b) does not receive the indirect wage of social security coverage; and 0 does not retain contractual relations with its employers.


perspective has been strongly criticized. Scholars who criticize this perspective emphasize the close articulation between formal and informal sectors, the way in which this articulation cheapens labor, and the importance of this unregulated production for social reproduction (in terms of both production of goods for the market and a source of employment) (Safa 1987).

Portes and Benton estimated that in 1984, 40 percent of Colombia's urban labor force was in the informal sector. For intermediate Colombian cities such as Pereira, informal sector participation in production has been estimated to be 61 percent (Lopez 1987). Recent studies on the process of expansion of the informal sector and the restructuring of the labor process demonstrate that the most exploited segments of the paid labor force are female (Nash and Fernandez-Kelly 1983, Sassen Koob 1984, Fernandez-Kelly 1985, Beneria and Roldan 1987, Safa 1990).

Portes (1983) distinguishes between three types of production within the informal sector: (1) direct subsistence (including subsistence agriculture and home production), (2) petty commodity production and exchange (based on the labor of the self-employed who produce goods and services for the market); and

(3) backward capitalist production, which includes small enterprises employing unprotected wage labor. The first two may be considered traditional methods of incorporating labor in the informal sector, while the third is relatively new in Colombia and elsewhere. This research considers subcontracted industrial outwork (which Portes terms backward production) as a mechanism for incorporating women's labor in a more vulnerable (less protected, more unstable or insecure) position.


Subcontracted Industrial Outwork

Subcontracted industrial outwork has recently received renewed interest by researchers, largely as a result of the decentralization of production since the 1970s (Beneria and Roldan 1987).

At the conceptual level, homework involves a mixed organization of production in which capital takes advantage of the prevalent social and economic relations within the household. The jobber, the workshop, or the factory gives the materials to the worker who is paid by the piece wages for the work, but has no control over the product since it is returned to the jobber. There is appropriation of labor on the part of the jobber, much along the lines based on capitalist relations of
production (Beneria and Roldan, p.66 1987).

However, in order to understand the implications of subcontracting for social relations of production and women's labor force incorporation, we must distinguish between the putting out system of the early European transition to capitalism, and industrial outwork performed in contemporary Latin America.

Industrial Outwork and Capitalist Development

Although striking similarities exist between the development of the putting out system in Europe and subcontracted industrial outwork in Colombia, significant differences also exist. Women's labor force incorporation under capitalist development in Colombia is more subordinate to both national and multinational capital than it was in Europe. Women, in Colombia, maintain less control of the production process, and less frequently own the means of production.


In order to better understand the way in which macro-economic processes influence women's labor force incorporation and the household, it is important to study these differences between the European case and the Colombian case. In general, during the transition to capitalism in Europe, the putting out system was controlled by commercial capital, while in Colombia today it is controlled by industrial capital. In the garment industry, even when production is performed in the home, the large factories maintain control of cutting and finishing the product.

In addition, the accumulation process initiated by commercial capital in Europe facilitated the development of national industrial capital (Beneria and Roldan 1987). However, in Colombia, this production contributes to the accumulation of both national and multinational capital. Though

subcontracting into the home was less frequent among the factories with multinational capital, other forms of contracting works to small workshops outside the factory did persist (these will be discussed in detail in Chapter Four). Thus small scale entrepreneurs' production contributes to the generation of surplus profits by the large multinational factories.

Further, the ownership of the means of production was different in the two cases. At least initially, the putting out system in Europe utilized independent producers who owned the means of production (such as sewing machines and looms). In Colombia, the machines, as well as the locale where production takes place (if it does not occur in the workers home) are often owned by the larger factory. In Colombia, the entrepreneur (manager of a small scale enterprise) may have the rent for the machines or locale taken out of her meager earnings for this subcontracted production.



This chapter discussed the impact of capitalist development on women's labor force incorporation. Women's labor force incorporation in eighteenth century Europe was compared to present day Colombia, emphasizing the change in location of production as it affects women's productive and reproductive responsibilities. The reorganization of social relations within the home as a result of the transition from craft production to factory production highlighted women' increasing marginalization within the production process. The increasing penetration of international capitalism in Third World Countries has led to a deskilling of the work force under contemporary monopoly capitalism conditions. The increasing feminization of the labor force illustrates the search for increasingly more vulnerable labor by industrial capitalists.

This discussion demonstrates that industries (even those which traditionally utilized female labor) such as the garment industry are restructuring production to reduce labor costs and to incorporate workers in a cheaper, more vulnerable position, with less job security and fewer benefits. Both subcontracted industrial outworkers and factory workers are relegated to "informal" types of production. The factory workers work becomes "informal"' when these workers are contracted as temporary workers, for less than 90 days, prohibiting them from receiving the benefits of legal contractual workers. This incorporation occurs at a time when male unemployment is increasing, wages are low, and women's contribution to the household income is highly significant.


Women's labor force incorporation in the new international division of labor, is becoming increasingly subordinate to the interests of national and multinational capital. However, this incorporation does not occur in a vacuum. Women's labor force incorporation is mediated by their household responsibilities. The household adapts to the changing forms of women's labor force incorporation by assuming new strategies for household sustenance. As households (both male and female-headed) jockey for their survival, and for a more advantageous position in the work force, they reorganize and reallocate their labor. This reallocation of labor is in part the result of households' responses to the structure of the labor market (this is discussed in depth in chapter 6) and to the current economic crisis.

In order to understand the mechanisms governing this incorporation of female labor in increasingly subordinate positions, it is necessary to link the household, and the family with the wider regional, national and international patterns of development, including social, economic, political and ideological processes, within which they are embedded. The next chapter discusses the process of industrialization in Colombia emphasizing the increase in temporary labor contracts, and the growth of the informal sector along with women's increasing labor force participation.



...Se utilizan solo la mano de obra de la region, y dentro del Plan Vallejo se trabaja para enviar ...De los EEUU mandan todo la material los patrones y aqui se trabaja .. se ponen la mano de obra al estilo Taiwan. Pereira es el epicentro del Plan Vallejo al nivel de la confeccion en este sentido.
Dona Blanca, Tecnologa del SENA

They utilize only the labor of the region, under the Plan Vallejo they work to export... From the United States they send all of the material, the patterns, and here they assemble it, using the style they use in Taiwan. Pereira is the epicenter of the Plan Vallejo in the garment industry in this sense.
Dofia Blanca, Technologist from the SENA.

This chapter begins with a discussion of the origins of the

manufacturing industry in Colombia emphasizing the relationship

between state policy and industrialization in Colombian economic

development. A description of the structure of the labor force in

Colombia discusses the historical importance of women's labor force



incorporation. Next, a brief review of the Antioquefio colonization of the Old Caldas region (which today is Risaralda, Caldas and Quindio) provides the background for a discussion of the capitalist development of the Risaralda region (see Figure 3.1, 3.2). Finally, an exploration of the contemporary structure of the manufacturing industry in the department of Risaralda focuses specifically on the role of the garment industry in the process of industrialization of Pereira and Dos Quebradas (see Figure 3.3).

In order to understand the origins of the manufacturing industry in Colombia, we must first consider the extraction of primary products which provided the initial capital for industrialization. From the midnineteenth century, the export sector has been considered the principal source of capital accumulation for the country. According to Jose Antonio Ocampo, a prominent Colombian economist: "The export experience of the nineteenth century was, in the long run, discouraging and in terms of specific markets, very unstable (1979: 25)". Ocampo delineates three elements which explain the limits to expansion of exports in the Colombian case: (1) the position of Colombia in the world economy, which tended to generate strong competitive disadvantages for the Colombian producers, (2) the presence of backward forms of production and (3) the tendency of Colombian capitalists to behave as speculatorsrs. (1979: 26). During the last century, investment by Colombians was concentrated in commercial and speculative activities or in buying certain goods (such as land or cattle) which could be rapidly liquidated, serving as a type of money. Investment in productive activities was only attractive when world prices for the products were high. Consequently, Ocampo states, the expansion of the export sector


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Figure 3.3 Municipality of Pereira, including Dos Quebradas.


only occurred when almost any type of production was acceptable in the world market. For this reason, the producer exporters, did not have much incentive to maintain a high level of investment of fixed capital in industrial development. Their role was more that of speculators.

Gold was the major export product until the mid nineteenth century. During the second half of the nineteenth century, coffee assumed increasing importance as a product for exportation. According to Alvaro Lopez Toro (1975) gold production for export in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries generated disequilibrium between Antioquia's dynamic mining economy and its stagnant traditional agriculture. A powerful merchant class emerged to balance this disequilibrium through trade. Lopez argues that merchants supplied the export sector with food, tools, and clothing, and collected gold for export. Capital accumulation in the hands of merchants enabled them to displace the cultural, social, and political influence of the class of large landowners engaged in traditional agriculture in the highlands around the region's capital, Medellin.

Charles Bergquist (1986) demonstrates how the boom and bust of export agriculture structured the political history of the nation during the nineteenth century. During the first three decades of this century, despite considerable growth of gold, banana, and petroleum exports (after 1925), coffee exports rose from 40 to more than 70 percent of the value of Colombia's total exports. The remarkable expansion of the coffee export economy enabled the Colombian government to become a major recipient of the flood of finance capital emanating from New York banks in the years preceding the Great Depression (Bergquist 1986: 297).


From an early stage, rural coffee producers depended on industrially based textile production for their own use. This explains, in part, why coffee producing regions often become centers of textile and garment production.

Small coffee farmers never engaged in home textile
production as rural families in other sectors of the Colombian economy traditionally did. Unlike the small tobacco farmers in Santander during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who produced textiles in their homes for distribution in other regions, and the wool spinners and weavers of highland Boyaca and Cundinamarca, coffee farmers depended from the beginning on industrially manufactured (and initially imported) cotton cloth for most of their clothing needs. Women and female children did, however fashion much of their own clothing by hand until the use of imported treadle sewing machines became widespread in recent decades. Males customarily had their cotton pants made by tailors in the towns, a practice that continues to this day, . Small children, especially among the most impoverished coffee families,
often still wear little or no clothing. (Bergquist 1986: 322)

Development of the Manufacturing Industry in Colombia

Until the end of the 1880's, industry in Colombia was basically artisanal, concentrated in the production of clothes, chocolates, candles, and beer located mainly in Bogota. It was only during the first years of the twentieth century that industrialization of consumption goods, focused in Medellin and Bogota, was begun on a large scale.

The textile industry in Medellin was a major leader in industrial development in the Antioqueflo region (of which Medellin is the capital). Capital accumulated in coffee exports funded the dynamic expansion of this sector in the Anqioquefio region. From 1910 till 1930 coffee exports increased at a rate superior to 10 percent yearly. Textile industrialization flourished in Medellin after 1907 under protectionist


measures first introduced by the Reyes government. Further, capital accumulated through coffee production in this region expanded and consolidated the internal market for textiles, assisted in the formation of large enterprises in the industrial sector, and through these activities strengthened the creation of a salaried workforce in the cities (Montenegro and Ocampo 1985). Coltejer and Fabricato, two of the largest textile factories in the country were developed through efforts of the largest family of coffee merchants (Echavarria).

Colombian industrialization was assisted by economic and fiscal reforms of the administration of Pedro Nel Ospina (1922-27). The reorganization of public finances made possible a greater access to external credit, while the creation of a central bank provided the base for the formation of a monetary system and modern capital market. The immediate effects of these reforms were to reduce the interest rates and provide a more secure access to sources of financing for new investments. The increase in the physical infrastructure put forth by the same administration further stimulated more investment in industry (Jimenez and Sideri 1985).

Colombia was, relatively speaking for Latin America, a late-comer to industrialization. However, the industrial growth in Colombia between 1931 and 1939 was, on the average 12.4 percent, not only the highest in Latin America in that decade, but also the highest in the industrial history of Colombia. The process of Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) began during the later years of the Liberal governments (1940-44), reaching its peak in the late 40's and early 50's when Antioquefto industrialists wielded great influence in the Conservative Administration. Nevertheless, this rate of growth was


reduced to 5.4 percent between 1939 and 1945, only to recuperate to 10.2 percent in the 1950's. While industries such as threads, textiles and cigarettes were concentrated in Antioquia, cement and beer were centralized in the province of Cundinamarca, and the processing of sugar was centralized in Cali.

With the initiation of industrialization, workers organizations also began to flourish. In 1931 worker's organizations were legitimized by the government. In 1936 the creation of the CTC (Confederacion de Trabajadores Colombianos) promoted advances in the area of social security legislation such as law 53 of 1938 which allowed for sick leave and maternity leave for workers. The Union of Colombian Workers (UTC) was founded in 1946 with assistance from the Catholic church.

In the years 1945-1950, significant changes in the structure of production occurred. The processing of foodstuffs (Galletas la Rosa, Cicolac, Fruco) and production of artificial fibers (Pantex, Tejicondor) began the diversification of consumer goods. Further, the expansion of intermediate goods, mainly in the industries of leather, chemicals, paper, and metal products increased dramatically. Growing consumer demands made investments in this sector more profitable (Jimenez and Sideri 1985).

The acceleration of import substitution industrialization (ISI) after the Second World War supported by state intervention fostered the development of large national textile factories that met most of the demands of the internal market. Policies established during this period encouraged national production of manufactured goods and reduced the need for imports (i.e., ISI). Between 1950 and 1958, an increase in the production of intermediate goods was accompanied by a decrease in the


expansion of consumer goods. The most dynamic industrial activities were those of wood, paper, leather, chemicals, petroleum derivatives, basic metals and non-electric machinery. Although, in general, intermediate goods provided the motor for industrial development in the 1950s, the situation varied in each region, depending on the structure of production in the region; on the integration of factory activity in this structure; on modifications given by the installation of new enterprises; and on the expansion of markets. In other regions, such as Antioquia and Old Caldas, industrial development continued to focus on consumer goods (79 percent to 90 percent respectively), although the participation of these in the total production of other manufacturing regions was decreasing (Jimenez and Sideri 1985).

Women's Contribution to Industrial Development

In the 1945 industrial census of Colombia, there were 135,000 workers registered in the industrial sector, of those 90.111 were men and 45.289 women (approximately 33 percent female). Approximately one third (34.5 percent) of these workers were distributed among 6 occupations: thread spinners, 3.7 percent, garment workers, 7.6 percent, folders, 2.5 percent, packers, 5.6 percent, weavers, 8.5 percent and yarn knitters, 6 percent. The occupations most often associated with female employment were those which were extensions of the women's domestic role, such as textiles, garments, food, and tobacco. This early census demonstrates that women's employment was not only limited to specific industries, but also to specific occupational categories within these industrial categories. Women were much more frequently


relegated to the category "obrera" (worker) as opposed to the category of "empleada" (salaried wage worker). The payment for work completed by empleadas was greater than that paid to "obreras" because the work of empleadas supposedly required a higher level of formal education, and therefore more 'technical expertise"(Sandroni 1982).

The situation of women in these early years of industrialization in Bogota, bears some resemblance to the daily lives of the garment workers today, in Pereira. In a thesis at the Universidad Nacional, Gabriela Pelaez Echeverry (1944) notes:

The women who work in the factories in this study are single
and without children because of the personnel selection process of the factory. . This is not found in the 'trilladoras' of coffee, who represent the other extreme. It is difficult to find among them, a woman who is single without children... In these 'trilladoras' one finds married women, single, women of all the marital states, with children of various ages. Mothers carried their children to work at their side... (p. 72, cited in Sandroni 1982, my translation).

She further notes that:

Of the women who worked only 1 percent, do so to dedicate part of their salary to personal expenses. Even those women who are alone, orphaned or widowed, need their work in order to live...
There are fewer cases in which the women must work because of death or abandonment by the husband (p.72, cited in Sandroni
1982, my translation).

The similarities between women's proletarianization in the 1940s and proletarianization in the 1980s demonstrate the continuous search by capital for a cheap, vulnerable labor force.1

1Statistics for Colombia show that the population of economically active women increased between 1951 and 1978 from 18.7 percent to 28.8 percent (Flores, Echeverri and Mendez 1987). However, the rate of female labor force participation in 1951 (18.7 percent) was close to five times less than the


From Import Substitution to the Promotion of Exports

Colombia's first two National Front governments (1958-1962; 1962-1966) faced economic problems stemming from the low world price for coffee and the shortage of foreign capital with which to import consumer goods. Towards the end of the 1960s, under the government of Lleras Restrepo, the industrial policy of ISI was reconsidered, and a shift towards export promotion began. During this time, the goverment assumed a protectionist policy towards the internal market and supported exports through exchange (fiscal) policies and the creation of tax incentives. Worker benefits established during the 1960's include: Cajas de Compensacion Familiar (family compensation) in 1962 and legislation regulating benefits for old age, death and disability in 1967.

The Instituto de Fornento Industrial (IFI), created in 1941, received increasing financial support during this period. The IFI was originally created to assist entrepreneurs wishing to purchase new technology. Total credits extended by the IFI rose from $35 million in 1958 to $2,157

masculine rate (89.3 percent). In 1978, the increase in female activity had reduced the difference with a rate of 29 percent for women and 71 percent for men. This increase in women's labor force participation results in part from the increasing urbanization of the population in the last few decades. In 1984 there was a greater percentage of women than men in urban areas (53 percent versus 47 percent) while the reverse is true of rural areas (48 percent versus 52 percent [Flores, Echeverri and Mendez 19871). This may be due, in large part, to the employment available in cities for women, mainly domestic servants.
Marital status also affects the female labor supply in a market with
preferences for single women. The highest rate of women's economic activity is in the group of separated women. This group increased its participation from 4.1 percent (1976) to 8.5 percent (1984) which explains in part, the increase in female labor force participation (Maldonado and Lozano 1987). These figures, however, only reflect female labor force participation in what has been termed the 'formal sector'.


million in 1969, and $4,935 million in 1972. In 1959, Decree 1345 provided increased tariff protection for industrial capital goods and intermediate manufactured goods produced in Colombia. The

protections applied to the manufacture of paper, iron, glass, electrical equipment, fertilizers, synthetic fibers and other high technology products. These protectionist policies encouraged the national production of textiles from cotton as well as synthetic fibers.

Another policy effecting technological change in Colombian manufacturing was Law 81 of 1960 which gave industrial tax exemptions and write-offs of up to 10 years for investments in a wide variety of heavy and high technology industries, as well as providing tax incentives for exports of these products. This policy was intended to expand import substitution beyond consumer durables to include "intermediate" industrial products which served as inputs to the manufacture of consumer goods. Thus these policies were designed to protect national industry, reduce imports, and promote exports in an attempt to improve Colombia's balance of payments and decrease the need to borrow foreign capital. These programs encouraged production in larger factories, although the degree to which these factories relied on smaller enterprises and outwork is not known.

Few programs were established to provide credit to smaller, more labor intensive industries. Some funds from the IFI, especially those from the Inter-American Development Bank brought in after 1969, were specified for small and intermediate-sized manufacturing plants. Another initiative was the establishment in 1967 of the Corporacion Financier Popular (CFP) which provides credit to small industrial enterprises that employ less than 100 individuals and have a minimal


reserve of capital for production. In Risaralda, the CFP has been significant in fomenting small scale production in the garment industry.

The creation of the Fondo Financiero Industrial (FF1) in 1968 initiated a special means of credit extension to small and medium-sized industrial establishments. The FF1 provides capital for these establishments, decentralizes credit to less developed regions, and attempts to create new opportunities for employment.

During the years 1959-1968, the process of diversification was strengthened along with the expansion in the production of intermediate goods and of consumer durables. Further, the division of work at a regional level was accentuated giving rise to what became known as the "golden triangle".2 Industrial development in the Old Caldas region, the major coffee producing zone in the country, focused on the two major urban centers of Manizales and Pereira. This region demonstrated a tendency towards specialization in the production of consumer goods, and the rate of growth of the sector of intermediate goods surpassed that of the national average (Jimenez and Sideri 1988).

In 1964 the Sindical Confederation of Colombian Workers (CSTC) was founded as a rival to the CTC and the UTC. In 1971 the General Confederation of Workers (GCT) originated. This group began in a meeting of Antioquefio activists (Accion Sindical Antioquefla ). The ideological and political division of the union movement and the

2The golden triangle refers to the development of Medellin, Bogota, and Cali as three major industrial centers of the country. Pereira, Risaralda is centrally located providing advantageous access to national as well as international markets. This regional development is significant in the development of the city of Pereira, first as a major commercial center, and later as a producer of consumer goods.


changes which have been expressed in the last 30 years are manifested in:
(1) the growth of new centers, the CSTC in 1964 and the CGT in 1970, (2) the loss of power of the CTC to the UTC, and (3) more recently the considerable growth of the unions not affiliated with any confederation (Gomez, Perry, Londofto 1986).

A legal system of contracting workers for selected periods of time, or items of production was accepted in 1965 with decree 2351 of the Colombian Labor Code (Corchuelo 1987). Article 4 of this decree practically institutionalized this contracting method. These unprotected workers may actually appear to participate in "'formal" sector production when they are hired as workers within the factory for periods of less than 90 days. Under these contracts, workers do not receive any social security benefits, and have no guarantee of job security. This may be interpreted as "inform alizing the "formal" sector by contracting labor for production in a much more 'casual' manner (Bromley and Gerry 1978). Article 4 of decree 2351 states that contracts for less than one year are possible in order to replace workers on vacation, for increases in production, or increases in sales.

However, according to a representative of the Union of Colombian Workers, the CUT,

The managers of the factory have abused this article and made
this practice a custom. This type of contract has been increasing since 1970, very sporadically contracts are made for 1 year especially in the garment industry. All contracts are made for 2 or 3 months. This practice has been institutionalized to the detriment of the workers. Every year workers' benefits are liquidated and the worker signs a new contract starting from zero. Another year passes and the same thing occurs. This practice has generated much unemployment, among other
things ... (personal interview May 20 1989).


Temporary Employment

Considering both the salaried work force and independent workers, temporary employment represented 16 percent of total employment in 1984, a rise from 10 percent in 1980 (DANE 1984). The productive activity which relies most heavily on the generation of temporary work in Colombia is the manufacturing industry (Corchuelo 1987). Subcontracting is a specific case of contracting where the labor demand is generally oriented towards home-based workers or smallscale enterprises. The utilization of the subcontracting arrangement is usually based on the relatively cheaper labor costs, the evasion of labor norms in these work places, the technological level of the home-based worker or small-scale enterprise, and the flexibility in the contracting and firing of workers due to changes in the level of economic activity.

At the national level, the number of temporary workers in private employment in Colombia increased from 10.5 percent of the labor force in 1980 to 16.5 percent in 1987.3 According to the Colombian labor code, there are two styles of labor contracting: contracts for fixed terms, and contracts for an indefinite term. The stipulations for fixed term contract include:

31n this region, temporary employment has increased as owners of the largest exporting factory rehire workers under new contracts. Recently this enterprise bought another large factory in the region. Management then began to move the workers from one factory to another. When the workers, who had a contract for a fixed period of time circulated from one factory to the other, they signed new contracts changing the status of their work from a fixed time period, to a shorter period of time, less than 90 days -- or solely for the production of a specific article (interview with union leader).


(1) The contract for fixed term must always be written, their
duration cannot be less than 1 year or greater than 3 years, but it is renewable indefinitely; (2) Temporary or occasional workers can be used to replace workers on vacation, to meet increases in production demand, etc. (this is discussed in more detail under temporary workers); (3) If prior to the expiration date of the contract, neither party advises the other party in writing, of their intentions to not prolong the contract with anticipation of 30 days, the contract will be understood to be renewed for one year; (4) a contract requiring highly specialized or technical work may be for less than a year (personal interview May 1989 with union official).

The contract of indefinite work is subject to the following conditions:

(1) The contract not stipulated to be under a fixed contract will refer to one of indefinite time, the duration of this work is not determined by the nature of the task, and does not refer to casually contracted labor. (2) The indefinite contract is valid as long as the conditions which gave rise to its origin and the material of work are available. The worker can terminate the contract through a written notice of 30 days. If this advance notice is not given, then article 8 number 7 will apply for the entire time, or for the lapse of working time which was not completed (personal interview May
1989 with union official).
Often temporary workers are hired under the fixed term contracts.

According to the Colombian work code, temporary employment is

classified into two groups: that constituted by temporary workers
contracted directly by the factory, and temporary workers contracted by an

independent agency called "Bolsas de Empleo". The most prevalent

form of employment in the garment industrial branch of manufacturing

activity in Colombia is contracted directly by the factory. Two of the
three modalities involve work within the factory, the third is contracted
outside the factory. The types of work encountered in this group



1) Contracting occasional workers these contracts are generally for only one month and are distinct from the normal workings of
the factory.
2) Contracts of a definite term contracts of less than one year, temporary replacement, labor related to requirements caused by production increases, including labor related to the transportation
of goods or the sale of production due to this increase.
3) Contracts to home workers contracts related to the completion of certain phases of the production process performed outside of
the factory. This work is generally paid by the piece.

Textile Production

To understand the implications of changes in the structure of production and the social relations of production we now turn to a study of the specific example of the textile industry. From the initial phases of industrialization, textile production flourished in the Antioquefla region. In 1920, 13 companies existed in the region. By 1945 only four of the original 13 factories remained; the small factories were absorbed by the larger ones. Until 1974, textile production developed fairly rapidly, stimulated by the dynamism of the internal market and the progressive opening of the export sector. Between 1970 and 1973 production and employment in textiles grew at an average annual rate of between 13 percent and seven percent respectively (Londofto 1986). This rate was superior to the industrial average, and the average of the total economy. After 1974, the expansion of the textile industrial sector began to decline, initially as a consequence of the reduction in the domestic sales, an increase in internal prices of 60 percent, and a deterioration in the ability of the majority of the population to purchase textiles (Paus 1982). Although total exports grew by 65 percent, during this year (1974) contribution of the textile sector to exports was reduced to eight percent.


In the textile sector, inventory represented up to 13 percent of production in contrast with five percent in previous years.

The overvaluation of the peso due in part to the 1970s coffee bonanza and the beginning of the drug trade resulted in a decrease in textile exports. The influx of coffee and drug earnings was also inflationary resulting in a large increase of contraband and legal imports, and a loss of industrial and export possibilities. At the height of the textile crisis (1979-82) the repercussions for workers began to be seen through collective and individual firing, indemnification of workers and forced retirement. The increase in the internal prices for textiles, as part of the decrease in exports, especially in the first part of the crisis had further ramifications in the garment factories. Many of these garment factories were forced to close during this period in part because of the increasing price of textiles..4

In 1975, the world recession, and the dramatic drop in exports worsened the situation. Competition from countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea decreased the demand for Colombian industrial exports. In general, the factory owners blame the government of Lopez Michelsen for this decrease.5 Other scholars, however, state that aspects such as the monopolistic and overprotective structure of the

41n. Bogota and Barranquilla 9 garment factories closed down, leaving approximately 4,900 workers without jobs. In Pereira 2 large enterprises Galex and Jarcano also closed (Londofto 1986). These factory closings in Pereira will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 6.
5 The government's liberation of interest rates, decrease in the rate of monetary devaluation, and liberation of imports produced an increase in the financial costs of the industry, and an increase in the inputs and labor which affected the ability of the industry to compete with contraband on the internal market, and with other industrializing nations in the external market (Londofio 1986).


industry leading to low productivity have been determinants in the loss of competitiveness of the industry in the international market (Morawitz 1989).

Export Promotion and Industrial Development

Emphasis on export promotion continued with the conservative government of Misael Pastrana Borrero (1970-1974). During this period spatial concentration of industrial development continued in eight major centers including: Bogota, Cali and Medellin, and on a lesser scale, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bucaramanga, Pereira and Manizales. When considering the industrial growth of the regions by sectors, Bogota, Cartagena, Barranquill a, Pereira and Manizales demonstrated growth rates of the production of intermediate goods superior to those of the rest of the country. In regard to capital goods, Medellin, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Pereira and Manizales present superior growth levels. The greater dynamism of the sectors of intermediate and capital goods in the eight industrial centers confirms the progressive transformation of the productive industrial structure of the country, as well as the unexpected and rapid growth of Cartagena, Manizales, Pereira, and Bucaramanga during the 1970's (Jimenez and Sideri 1985).

The importance of Medellin, Bucaramanga, Manizales and Pereira in the production of consumer goods can be seen in specific activities: textiles for Medellin, tobacco in Bucaramanga, garments in Pereira, and foodstuffs in Manizales, areas in which these cities have been specializing since the late 1960's. Specifically in the case of Manizales


and Pereira, the industrial centers of Old Caldas, the determining factor in the industrial expansion appears to be the new investment of foreign capital. Contrary to what happened in the Antioquefto region, the local industry of Pereira has grown without a strong connection to the agricultural coffee barons in the region. This differs from the development of the textile industry in Medellin, and has led to investment of the capital accumulated in industrialization in the region, to other geographical areas (Jimenez and Sideri 1985).

At the national level, despite a decline in coffee income, the export sector grew in 1989 with a 16 percent increase in earnings over the previous year. Coffee accounted for just 23 percent of export earnings, approximately the same percentage as petroleum. Textiles and garments were among the fastest growing sectors doubling their value in 1989 to an estimated 507 million, eight percent of total exports (Colombia Today 1/91).
More recently, Colombian industrial enterprises have been affected by the international economic recession, and the Latin American debt crisis. Although Colombia's foreign debt ($16,500 million by 1988)6 was manageable by Latin American standards, it placed a large drain on scarce resources, as the debt cost the country seven percent of the GNP for that year.

60f this 16,500 million dollars, 13,100 was owed by the public sector; 40 percent by electricity and coal and oil sectors alone.


Antiogueflo Colonization of Old Caldas and the Subsequent Development of
Pereira as a producer of consumer goods

The foundation of Pereira in 1863 was an important event in the Antioquefto colonization of Western Colombia, causing profound economic, social and cultural changes in the country. Prior to the nineteenth century, the lack of successful colonization of this region was attributed to the physical difficulties of the area. By the end of the eighteenth century, groups of peasants and merchants from the eastern area of Medellin (Rionegro and Marinilla) began to migrate southward. For over 100 years, this migration opened up the southeastern part of what is today the Antioqueflo region, and all of the Old Caldas region. A combination of factors led to the opening of the southern border of the Antioquefio region including: (1) the search for other sources of gold, (2) the expansion of agricultural cultivation to satisfy the needs of the growing population, (3) the search for new and more fertile lands for the production of coffee.

Agricultural Development

The economy of the Old Caldas region was initially based on agriculture, mining, and cattle raising. Cocoa, leather, and gold were the principal commercial articles. Coffee, introduced into the region in 1865, only became a fundamental pillar of the Old Caldas economy during the beginning of the twentieth century. The production of coffee in this region was based on small-holder plots. However, in recent years there has been an increasing concentration of land into large latifundios.


In 1930, 73.7 percent of the coffee fincas occupied less than five
hectares and produced only 26 percent of the final crop, while seven percent of the fincas occupied more than 20 hectares and produced 46 percent of the crop. Thirty six years later, the large fincas represented 85 percent of the total and had increased their participation in production to 65 percent
(Christie 1974).

Although an Agrarian Reform Program was begun in 1961, by the end of the 1960's its goals for small peasant groups was far from being realized. Land concentration and the weakening of the progressive peasant organization (ANUC) implemented during Pastrana's

government contributed to the unsuccessful implementation of the agrarian reform.
Statistics from 1970 demonstrate that in Risaralda, units of less than 10 hectares composed 73 percent of the total arable land, and 7.2% of its surface area, while units with over 100 hectares composed only 4 percent of the units, and covered 67 percent of the surface area (Fajardo 1980). According to statistics from the National Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia (FEDERACAFE) the area occupied by productive coffee in 1970 was distributed as follows: Antioquia 14.5 percent, Tolima 12.8 percent, Valle 12 percent, Cundinamarca 9.6 percent, Caldas, 8.3 percent, Cauca 7.4 percent Quindio 7.9 percent, Santander 7.9 percent, Risaralda 5.8 percent and the rest of the sections of the country 13.9 percent, placing Risaralda in eighth place. In 1980 the situation had not changed considerably. Antioquia increased its participation by 14.7 percent within the superficies of coffee production, Caldas 9.9 percent and Risaralda to 6.5 percent.


In the department of Risaralda, from 1932 to 1970 the number of coffee farms relative to the municipal areas increased slightly in the areas of Marsella Apia and Guatica, a bit more in Pueblo Rico, Pereira, Balboa Santa Rosa de Cabal, and Belen de Umbria, and in the other three administrative units (Mistrato, Quinchia and Santuario), it decreased:

Those who have acquired coffee lands are from a class
which is not linked directly to agriculture, rather it is the professional class. If you go to Marsella, a typical municipio, one finds coffee land owned by engineers, lawyers, dentists because, through this mechanism, they pay a high price for the coffee lands... They are changing a peasant class for an industrial class which does not have any peasant ancestry, but which is joining, with a great force, the cultivation of coffee at the national level
(Lopez 1988: 108, my translation).

Table 3.1 shows the concentration of coffee lands in the department. In 1970, for example, the coffee fincas with less than 4 hectares represented 53.8 percent of the total and comprised only 10.1 percent of the land. Coffee lands with less than 10 hectares (77.7 percent of the total of the producers) constituted 26.7 percent of the land. In the other extreme, 346 coffee fincas (2.5 percent of the total) had coffee areas based on the size of 50 hectares occupied 29.1 percent of the land. The rest, or 44.2 percent of coffee land was managed by medium sized producers (from 10 to 49.99 hectares) which constituted 19.8 percent of the total of coffee units.

This brief discussion of the coffee economy in the department reveals the growth of an agrarian economy in which the large capitalist coffee enterprises assume an important role in coffee production, with a tendency to exclude the small producer (Lopez 1982). The relationship

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between coffee production in the rural areas, and the industrial growth manifested in the urban sector will be considered next.

Industrial Development

In the 1920's the first large industrial establishments appeared in Pereira. This period coincided with one of economic prosperity for Colombia. In part this was the consequence of the price of coffee which reached high levels between 1924 and 1927. After 1940, the garment industry developed rapidly based on existing artisanal activities. Clothing production in the 1930's and 1940's had been realized primarily by artisans in small factories. The following quotation demonstrates the type of relationship which existed between the outworkers, agents, and factory owners in the 1930's:

As agents we contracted seamstresses who worked in their homes.
Monday we gave them the cloth, already cut, thread, buttons, and other materials. Friday we received the merchandise to take it to the market on Saturdays and Sundays. The relationships with the workers were informal, based on friendship and mutual trust. For example it was a common practice to advance money to the workers in times of economic necessity. It was also common to loan money to workers so that they could buy sewing machines
(Manuel Rodrigo Becerra, 1979: 23, my translation).

Almost all of the garment factories of Pereira were established by merchants or individuals who had worked as laborers in garment factories. Some were merchants who started their factories based on a small workshop located in the back of their stores. Some of these owners were operators of garment factories, who, based on modest savings from the profits of their work, established small workshops.


According to a study comparing the industrial development of Pereira and Manizales by Manuel Rodriguez Becerra (1979), 75 percent of the garment factories in Pereira today are the product of individuals or a family who promoted and supported their own industry. In the rest of the cases, the factories generally belonged to the action of a small group of commercial businessmen.

In 1935 two industrialists from the Antioquefio region of Colombia, Carlos and Israel Restrepo, initiated the Charles shirt factory. Later, two gentlemen, Jaramillo and Cano, owners of the largest imported goods store, opened a factory in the back of their shop called jarcano&. The jarcano shirt became a very respected label, and though it was originally produced for the Garantia factory, they eventually became independent, and a small workshop was opened in the home of jaramillo.

Foreign investment in the industrial development of Pereira began in 1936 with the establishment of the garment factory La Garantia. Foreign investment continues to provide substantial employment for the region. In 1973 factories dominated by foreign capital employed 20 percent of the personnel incorporated in manufacturing industry (Arango 1989).


Table 3.2

Pereira-Dos Quebradas: Foreign capital in local Industry, 1988

Enterprise Year Capital Percent of Personnel
Founded Origin Foreign capital Employed Panos Omnes 1950 Panama 21 467
(Textiles) France
United States

La Rosa 1950 England 100 700

Hilos Cadena 1952 Sweden 100 817

Nacionales 1960 Canada 92 600

Colpapel 1967 United States 50 400

Nicole 1975 United States 80 900

Suzuki 1982 Japan 85 311

Valher 1969 United States 51 500

Source: Jaime Arango Gaviria, 1989.

In the 1950's three factories of foreign capital initiated production in Pereira: the factory Panos Omnes (1950), a subsidiary of a French textile factory; the factory of Confites and Galletas La Rosa, 1950, subsidiary of an English multinational, and the factory Hilos Cadena


(1954) subsidiary of a Swiss multinational. In the 1960's the presence of foreign capital increased in Pereira with the addition of the following factories: (1) Papeles Nacionales, which began in 1962 as the subsidiary of a Canadian firm; (2) a car assembly firm (Roa Hispano Colombiana) founded by a group of Spaniards and a group from Pereira, a project which later failed.

In the 1960's several different projects were developed to foment manufacturing industry in the city. These projects were promoted by a groups of Pereirano industrialists (one third of whom were garment factory owners) who actively participated in the promotion and strengthening of industries different from the traditional ones and the foundation of the group "Promotora Industrial". This group provided the base for the creation of the Corporaci6n Financiera del Occident which provided economic assistance and credit to large scale factories. The foundation of a local branch of the Corporacion Financiera Popular in Pereira in 1969 significantly advanced manufacturing production in the city by providing credit to small scale producers. This organization has played a central role in the development of small scale industries, especially in the garment industry.

The exportation of garments in Colombia is regulated by the Plan Vallejo first implemented in 1967. The Plan Vallejo is one of the most important tools in the promotion of exports and in international commerce for the region. This decree defines the operations in which individuals, societies, exporters, or merchants can import raw materials destined for assembly in the country, and later export the assembled materials. The raw material or disassembled pieces imported under this plan, must be used exclusively in the production of goods destined for


exportation. Through this process, the importers acquire the right to bring into the country, on a second occasion, the same quantity of raw material previously imported without having to pay taxes.
The majority of exports under the Plan Vallejo are destined to the United States. Further, more than 80 percent of imports which come from the United States for assembly in Colombia are destined to garment production. In Pereira, more than 20 firms participate directly in production for exportation under the Plan Vallejo and about 25 garment factories participate either indirectly (subcontracted) or directly.

Regional Development

Pereira, the capital of Risaralda, is a city which has grown from 115,000 to 287,00 inhabitants between 1951 and 1985. In 1951, 66 percent of the population of the Risaralda was rural and 34 percent urban. In 1985, only 19 percent of the population lived in the rural areas and Pereira figured as the tenth city in national importance for its urban population. However, the industrial development of Pereira must be evaluated in direct relation to the changes and evolution of the population in Dos Quebradas (the industrial zone to the north of the city). Dos Quebradas doubled its population between 1973 and 1985 passing from 50,000 to 103,000 inhabitants. Dos Quebradas grew notably in its density from 700 inhabitants /square km to almost 1500 inhabitants /square km. Pereira had a moderate increase with the population in its total area increasing from 346 to 438 inhabitants per square km. In the two municipal areas, the "rural" density also doubled.


These facts demonstrate the tendency of the population of Risaralda to be concentrated in these two cities. While in 1973 Pereira and Dos Quebradas maintained approximately 55 percent of the Risaralda population, in 1985 this proportion had grown to almost 63 percent.7 In 1973 the rate of in-migration was 35 percent for Quindio, 30 percent for Risaralda and 17 percent for Caldas. In the same year, Pereira presented a high rate of immigration with 56 percent. As with other large cities (Bogota, Ibague, Cali and Armenia among others), Pereira maintains a rate of immigrants to natives greater than I.

In order to understand these processes of redistribution and relocation of the population, we must consider the material conditions in which the regional economy develops. As previously mentioned, coffee production dominates the regional economy. In the last few years, coffee production has decreased its importance because of the rapid decline in international prices (e.g. the breaking of the London Pact in 1989), the invasion of a bacteria called roya, and the increase in the price of the inputs and fertilizer required. All of these factors contribute to the precarious condition of the small coffee farmers who can hardly afford to

7Census data from 1973 and 1985 for Pereira and Dos Quebradas demonstrate that salaried workers (empleados, obreros and jornaleros and empleados domesticos) who made up 73 percent of the labor force in 1973 maintained this level of participation in 1985. However, independent workers grew from 12 percent in 1973 to 19 percent in 1981 demonstrating that the informal sector of the economy continues to expand while the formal sector maintains its level of productivity. During the past decade, economic concentration in the Pereira Dos Quebradas region has led to an increase in the economically active population, especially in the category of independent worker. The increasing number of productive small scale enterprises in the region demonstrate some of the variety of ways in which workers are increasingly incorporated into the labor force in a disadvantaged state, with few benefits and no protection.


produce their traditional coffee. In 1989 a 40 percent fall in coffee prices led to the impoverishment of many small producers (Pearce 1990). Decreases in regional production and commercialization of coffee eliminated considerable regional employment in the rural areas. The development of capitalist agriculture has affected the relations of production in the rural areas. These rural workers, displaced by technified machinery in the coffee fincas, migrate initially towards Pereira and Dos Quebradas, forming part of the growing urban proletariat and labor for import substitution.

Charles Bergquist describes the situation in the region as follows:

. In the decades since mid-century there has been steady
concentration of landholding patterns in Colombian agriculture, an increase in mechanization and capitalist investment in agriculture, and a corresponding growth in the number of landless wage workers in the countryside. Even coffee production, which historically proved so resistant to pure capitalist forms and favored the growth and maintenance of small producers and the family owned and operated farm, has witnessed in recent decades a revolution in production techniques, tenancy and labor systems.
The application of capital and advanced techniques to coffee production has, since mid-century slowly undermined the
competitive position of smallholders. (Bergquist 1986:371).

Undoubtedly developments in rural agriculture have affected urban industrial developments. The growing urban population, in part, determines the structure of the potential labor force.

Regional Manufacturing Industry

In Pereira, formal sector industrial production is dominated by five industries: foodstuffs, beverages, textiles, garments and paper. Table 3.3 describes the structure of industrial production in the region. As this


table demonstrates, foodstuffs generated the most production, as well as employed the largest number of personnel. However, garments maintained the largest number of establishments and were not far behind foodstuffs in 1981 with 26.5 percent of the personnel employed. Further, because the nature of subcontracting within the garment industry hides many workers in clandestine workshops or their homes, the total number of employees, and actual production figures are probably higher than census estimates.

------------------------------------------------Table 3.3

Pereira-Dos Quebradas. Manufacturing Industry.
General Summary: Percent Participation, 1981

------------------------------------------------Industrial Number of Gross Product Percentage of
Classification Establishments Millions of Dollars Total Workers
Foodstuffs 18.6 34.3

Beverages 2.2 9.7

Textiles 7.4 11.4

Garments 24.7 14

Paper 2.2 10.9

Others 44.9 19.7

Total 231 (100%) 201,525 (100)%
-------------------------------------------------Source: Arango, 1989.

Major indicators of manufacturing industrial activity in Colombia situate the metropolitan area of Pereira-Dos Quebradas as the sixth in importance in value added, number of establishments, production,


intermediate consumption, salaries, and benefits. In 1982 Pereira occupied the fifth place in quantity of personnel occupied with the most active industrial activities including food, drinks, textiles, garments, and paper. Garments, together with foodstuffs, account for over 50 percent of the industrial activity in the region. The active presence of foreign investment in the large factories reinforces the concentration of capital in the industrial sector. This foreign investment is often consolidated to the point that many establishments (including those involved in garment production), have less than 20 percent Colombian participation (Arango 1989). The increasing foreign participation in the regional economy demonstrates their increased dependence on international forces for generating the capital for local and regional industries.

Contemporary Colombian Developmen

Recently the Colombian economy has begun a process of "opening". This process is part of a plan to internationalize the Colombian economy and modernize their productive capacity. The liberalization of exports and flopening up" of the Colombian economy to foreign investors affects all industrialists (large, medium and small).

This so called "opening up" of the Colombian economy will allow products from the exterior to compete with Colombian products. This opening involves (in addition to changes in foreign commerce policy) a variety of entities (including "proexpo" the Colombian entity involved with regulating Exports, and Incomex, the agency involved in regulating Imports) and a series of structural reforms in financing, foreign exchange, transportation and labor (Semana 12/21/1990). The goal of this process is to


increase the growth rate of the economy, limited by the size of the national economy. One theory is that if industrialists become more competitive in the international market and succeed in selling their product, their growth possibilities are greater and they will be able to generate more employment.

However, this "economic opening" must occur gradually in order to allow the industrialists to prepare for competition in the foreign market. This involves "industrial conversion" or the modernization of the machinery in the factories. Often this modernization results in the utilization of machinery which replaces the work of several individuals. This "industrial conversion" contradicts the above mentioned theory of employment generation which should accompany the industrial opening. If, in order to compete in the international market, workers are replaced with machines (which supposedly do the job faster and more efficiently) where is the employment generation?

While these policies may be beneficial to the large scale producer, the small scale producers are in a disadvantaged position. Their lack of independent access to a market (without being subcontracted) their lack of access to capital, their limited access to technology, and their lack of knowledge of the production process subordinate these producers to the larger capitalist enterprises. The weakest link in this chain of development (which begins with increasing production of the large scale capitalist and ends with employment generation) are the workers. Even though the Colombian Congress has approved "the most ambitious labor reform in forty years" the degree to which these reforms actually protect the workers, and the degree to which they can be adequately enforced are debatable.
These labor reforms modify four aspects of the labor regime: (1) the individual's rights to work, (2) the collective rights of workers, (3) the


management of temporary work agencies and (4) norms regarding the closure of factories. In the regulation of labor laws the most important changes related to the "cesantias" or pensions of the workers. Cesantias are pensions (or an extra month of pay) received by workers. The new labor reform eliminates the retroactive nature of pensions. The pensions of the workers was set when they were hired and, and was subject to the cost of living at that time. Under this plan workers were disadvantaged because while the cost of living rose, their pension rate was fixed much lower. However, the new law which goes into effect in 1991 guarantees the workers a profit equal to the market rate. The pensions which are not used by the workers will further be guaranteed 12 % interest. One of the major drawbacks of this new law is that it only affects workers who are hired in 1991.

In addition, a new law was introduced which introduces the "integral salary" a salary which covers more than just the basic needs of an individual (equivalent, perhaps to what we call in English the family wage). This "integral salary", however, is only available for those who make more than 10 minimum wage salaries (only four percent of the Colombians population earn this wage). However, the limited worker benefits provided by the new 11cesantias" laws are minimal, especially when one considers that only those who work in the "formal" sector are affected by this legislation.

In order to consider how these political changes affecting industrial development impact on women's labor force incorporation and household strategies for income generation, we must return to a consideration of the garment workers households. As previously stated, declining wages

accompanied by rising unemployment have led to women's assuming a primary role in income generating strategies for household survival. Ina addition the continuing declining value of the peso, coupled by sustained


violence in rural areas has lead to increased prices for food, and a rising cost of living, adding to the economic pressures at the household level.


This chapter began with a discussion of the origins of the manufacturing industry in Colombia emphasizing the relationship between state policy and industrialization in Colombian economic development. The evolution of industrial development in Colombia was characterized by certain regions specializing in the production of consumer goods, with other regions assuming dominance in the production of capital goods. The development of a "golden triangle" provided Pereira with an advantageous position for the production of consumer goods. The increasing technification of coffee production in the last few years and the industrial growth in the Metropolitan Area of Pereira (including Pereira and Dos Quebradas) have led to high rates of migration from the rural to urban areas. Finally, an exploration of the contemporary structure of the manufacturing industry in the department of Risaralda demonstrated the predominance of the garment industry in the process of industrialization of Pereira and Dos Quebradas. The dominance of garment production (which utilizes mainly a female labor force) in the history of industrialization of this region highlights the importance of women's labor force participation in regional development.
In the next chapter I consider the structure of the labor market of the garment industry in more detail, focusing on the mechanism of subcontracting within the process of production. The process of


subcontracting determines the context within which the home-based workers and micro-entrepreneurs produce for the garment industry.



The future generations laid
waste by the hunger of capital
for higher rates of accumulation
are yet to be known ... The present
victims of its capacity are all
too frequently women...
Elson and Pearson 1981

Chapter Three discussed the socioeconomic aspects of regional development responsible for the increase in subcontracting. This chapter examines the structure of production within the garment industry as it conditions women"s labor force participation. "Putting-out" part of the production process, through a formal or informal contract, is called subcontracting. Subcontracting is a mechanism which fragments and

decentralizes production creating a hierarchy of better paid, more secure jobs in the factory, which contrast in general with low-paying home-based production. The linkages created by the process of subcontracting are discussed as mechanisms which create and reproduce subordinate hierarchical social relationships in the garment industry. A discussion of the variety of linkages (intermediaries who obtain home-based workers for the factory who are external to factory, factory workers who serve as intermediaries, or no intermediaries) utilized to link subcontracted producers to different types of



enterprises (subcontracted industrial outworkers, family small-scale enterprises, and non-familial, small-scale enterprises) follows, emphasizing the autonomy and/or subordination of the producer in relation to the larger capitalist factories.

The role of intermediaries, their characteristics, and the control which they exercise over subcontracted producers' access to, and control of, key resources are discussed. The significance of the division of labor by gender can be seen in that the majority of the intermediaries are men. These

intermediaries, in turn, control the labor of subcontracted industrial outworkers, who are generally women. The work of an intermediary requires traveling alone and working with male factory owners. For these reasons, the majority of the intermediaries are men. In this research, only one woman intermediary was encountered. This woman was a widow, free from the ideological constraints which prohibit most women from traveling alone as intermediaries.

The Subcontracting Relationship

Watanabe (1983) distinguishes two types of subcontracting: (1) those factories that contract out production without raw materials (in other words, the home-based worker is responsible for providing the raw materials) and (2) those that provide raw materials and other inputs. Beneria and Roldan (1987), in their study of subcontracting relationships in Mexico, refer to the first as "vertical subcontracting" and the second as "horizontal". Both methods of subcontracting were encountered in this Colombian study. The majority of the subcontracted industrial outworkers, however, participated in horizontal


subcontracting which utilized intermediaries. The high percentage of subcontracted industrial outworkers in the category of horizontal subcontracting is due in part to the cost of the raw materials. In horizontal subcontracting the subcontracted industrial outworkers do not have to provide these raw materials, facilitating entrance into this sector. In general, vertical subcontracting (which requires enough initial capital to purchase raw materials on the part of the worker) was done directly with the small-scale enterprises and subcontracted industrial outworkers; intermediaries were not involved.
Horizontal subcontracting accentuates the differences between the factory and the subcontracted industrial outworkers. Generally the control of the raw materials and structuring of the process of production remains with the large factory. Under vertical subcontracting, the price for the final garment is significantly higher, and the subcontracted industrial outworked maintains more control of the production. This control ranges from designing the garment and cutting it to finishing it off.

Production which occurs in the home as subcontracted industrial outwork is usually small-scale, unregulated, and labor intensive, which places it in the category of "informal sector" production. Whether we are discussing sub-contracting relationships between the first world and the third world, within a country, or within a city, subcontracting represents a fragmentation and decentralization of the labor process.

The Subcontracting Relationship in Risaralda

The subcontracting relationship structures a considerable amount of production in the garment industry in this region. According to this research,


70 percent of the garment factory owners in Pereira and Dos Quebradas participate in the subcontracting chain, either directly or indirectly. In other words, 70 percent of the owners stated that they work for other factories, meaning that they produce part or all of a garment for the other factory during certain times of the year. Fifty percent said that they send work to others, meaning that they send work out to other factories, small-scale enterprises, or subcontracted industrial outworkers, while 40 percent of the factories participate in both forms of contracting, that is, they work for other factories and send work to other factories. These data demonstrate the importance of analyzing the industrial mechanism of subcontracting in order to accurately analyze the structure of the labor force in the industry (see Figure 4.1).

50% of Owners interviewed


70-80 % of total workers in garment industry (Estimate) Figure 4.1
Diagram of Subcontracting Chain in Pereira, Risaralda

Subcontracting work to homeworkers occurs most frequently at the end of the year (Christmas holiday season), father's day, and mother's day. These are times of the year when the demand for clothing as gifts is highest. In this case, subcontracting offers the possibility of transferring the risks of


fluctuations in production and the costs associated with temporary increases in the production, both in machinery and personnel, to homeworkers.

Subcontracting extends fragmentation of the labor process beyond the factory. The process of decentralization within the factory lowers the cost of the labor force through deskilling of the workers (Braverman 1974). This occurs through the breaking down of jobs into smaller and smaller tasks, and the utilization of workers with less skills who work for a lower salary. This division can also be seen between large, medium, small factories and subcontracted industrial outworkers. The organization of production through subcontracting not only minimizes labor costs, but also wrestles control from actual producers over their products. Fragmentation of the labor process, therefore, is extended beyond the factory (Beneria 1989).

The garment industry makes women's work invisible by contracting it out into the home. The main mechanism by which this process is pushed underground and made invisible is through organization of production through subcontracting. Subcontracting decreases the infrastructure investment necessary on the part of the large capitalist enterprise in machines, electricity, and building space. There is also a reduction in the number of workers for whom the factory is responsible in terms of social security payments and other benefits. Key informants of this research stated that approximately 80 percent of workers participating in the garment industry perform their jobs outside the formal factory setting. The research of Florencia Pefia (1989) for Mexico supports this, stating that for every factory worker there are at least three homeworkers. Violeta Sara-Lafosse (1985) estimates that, for Peru, approximately 80 percent of workers in the garment industry are hidden in their homes.


The main characteristics of subcontracting include the supplying of raw material to the producers (who remain in their houses) by agents who afterwards collect the finished goods and pay the producers their wages on a piece rate basis. Although this system has existed since garment production began in the late 1920's in Risaralda, the new element is the extreme horizontal and vertical division of labor, reorganizing women's work on what has been called "an invisible assembly line" (Mies 1982). By the horizontal division of labor, I refer to the fact that the labor of these homeworkers is appropriated by middlemen and larger factory owners in such a manner that the women are isolated in their homes, isolated not only from factory production, but also from other women who produce the same garment. This isolation reinforces the women's vulnerability and prohibits the formation of solidarity and class consciousness.

The assembly line created by subcontracting work is called invisible because the women workers do not see how it operates. Only the middle men (who, as previously mentioned, are men) or factory owners (also generally men) know how the putting-out system functions, and who performs which operations. The knowledge of how to make an entire garment is often unavailable to these women. In addition, the subcontracted industrial outworkers do not know for which exporters agents work, they do not know anything about the agents' margin of profit, and in many cases they don't even know the names of the agents. Although the homeworkers see and talk with the agents, they don't understand the relationship between agents and the factory. To the extent that the women never know how the entire garment is produced, or what their relationship with the intermediary means, they do not totally understand the process of production.


Subcontracting as Articulation Between Formal and Informal Sectors

Small-scale enterprises rely on family labor and local resources, low capital investment, labor intensive technology, high competition, ease of entry, utilization of an unskilled work force, and acquisition of skills outside of the formal educational system. In this research, subcontracted

microenterprises fall within the sector of economic activity that is generally not registered with government agencies, is unrepresented by official statistics, and does not comply with regulations governing labor practices, taxes, and licensing. These 'informal sector' activities are informal in terms of their internal organizational structure, and in terms of their relationships with the social structure which surrounds them (Sethuraman 1976). Of the

subcontracted industrial outworkers interviewed in this study, fewer than five percent signed any type of written contract with an intermediary (because there were generally no formal contracts with the intermediaries).

In all cases, the articulation is part of a highly integrated system of production segmented into different levels and of an overall process of accumulation that encompasses all of the levels. In this sense the conceptualization of formal, informal dichotomy is not appropriate insofar as the two sectors are viewed as separate and independent of each other. (Beneria and Roldan:

In the informal sector, production fluctuates greatly. Because informal sector business operators have little access to capital, they often must stop production when they run out of the raw materials needed for production. In general, they cannot accumulate an inventory, or purchase the necessary technology or machinery that would enable them to secure their position in


the market. They often depend on intermediaries to bring them work from factory owners. Their dependency may force them to take work at a lower pay rate, or for only a short period of time, with the hope that more steady work will become available for them in the future.

In cases of horizontal subcontracting, this study encountered four methods of articulation between subcontracted industrial outworkers and the larger factory. Three of these are described by Beneria and Roldan (1987). Beneria and Roldan describe the first type of articulation, "direct articulation", as that in which a regular firm sends production to subcontracted industrial outworkers and small-scale enterprises without intermediaries. In the Colombian sample, this articulation was found among small-scale enterprises which have direct contact with the home-based producers. The second type is described as "mediated articulation". This takes place through an intermediary unit that establishes the connection between large and medium sized factories and subcontracted industrial outworkers. Generally no production occurs at the intermediary level, although the intermediary may distribute and transport the raw materials and gather the final products. The third type that they describe is "mixed articulation", where production is centered in a store that sells garments, but the production of garments is clandestine in the basement.

A fourth type of articulation encountered in this Colombian study was seen predominantly in the large factories. This articulation demonstrates another way in which the labor force is expanded without direct contracts. This "unmediated articulation" involved using garment workers (of the factory) as intermediaries and also owners of small-scale enterprises in their homes. These workers performed garment work in the factory during low periods of demand, while during periods of high demand, they worked in


their homes subcontracted by the large factory. The large factory provided them with training on how to deal with the employees in their small-scale enterprises and low-interest loans for buying machines. The workers themselves were the intermediaries in this case. In fact, this method of subcontracting was the only one encountered in the large factory because of problems with quality control. The women who are permitted to open their own small workshops (or what they call 'boutiques') work in quality control in the larger export factory. These women are hand-picked by factory management and given courses in the administration of micro-enterprises. These women start their own microenterprise during peak production. When the demand for garments slackens, workers in the small-scale enterprises are let go, but the women administering the small-scale enterprises retain their positions in quality control in the larger factory.

Intermediaries as Agents of Articulation

The intermediaries play a key role in establishing the relationship between the factory and the subcontracted industrial outworkers (or smallscale enterprise). This research encountered three types of intermediaries: those who were only involved in distributing cut cloth to producers and returning the final product to the factory; those who bought the cloth, distributed it to be cut, and then redistributed it for sewing; and those who distributed part of the cut cloth which they had received to other subcontracted industrial outworkers, and performed part of the production process in their homes. In this case, access to, and control of, raw materials plays a significant role in determining the autonomy of the intermediaries. Those


intermediaries who bought, as well as distributed, the cloth were more autonomous than those who only distributed the cloth, although the capital to buy the cloth generally (though not always) came from the owner of the store where the final product was sold. In all cases, the intermediaries were employed in only the small- and medium- sized factories. The larger factory had individuals who managed the small-scale enterprises, who were employees of the factory. In this way, the factory owners were able to expand production and maintain considerable control of the labor force.

The relationship between the factory owner and the intermediary also varies between the types of larger enterprises which subcontract. On the one hand, a factory owner may organize the work within the factory and also be responsible for distributing work to intermediaries and subcontracted industrial outworkers. On the other hand, a factory owner may only provide a point to sell the finished goods, giving the intermediary the responsibility for organizing the production process and distributing the work to the subcontracted industrial outworkers and micro-enterprises.

The relationship between the factory owner and intermediary determines the control which the intermediary exercises over the process of production. Those owners who allow the intermediaries to distribute cloth and pick up the finished product (providing only the store front for selling) maintain much less control over the process than those who design the garment, cut the fabric, and finish it in their centralized shop. By maintaining this control, these owners are able to pay lower prices to home-based workers (because the workers perform fewer tasks), charge higher prices for the finished product, and maintain a larger profit by accumulating more of the surplus generated by subcontracting out the production.