WCIEN, PROIXCTION AND REPRODUCTION IN INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM
A Caomparis of Brazilian and U.S. Factory Workers
HelB I. Sa e
DepMr.smt of Aathrep legy
tam eCs Univ(wity
Iaw SBmngvt, Imr Jersey 0903
gRl paper prepared for presentation at 1978 umeaft of Iotes1ateioM
Stdides AssoaeLtiea, Washington, D.C. De "a ocit ofr rprodue wthutt
permission. Research spaeeored by a eolleborative reseuaeh grsnt fri
the Social Science Researeh Cauncil.
WCMEN, PRODUCTION, and REPRODUCTION IN INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM:
A Comparison of Brazilian and U.S. Factory Workers
One crucial element that differentiates women from men is that women
have always been forced to combine their productive and reproductive roles. That
is, unless they opt for celibacy (abandoning their reproductive role) or become
full-time housewives (abandoning paid productive labor) they are somehow forced
to seek a compromise between the competing demands of work and a family. The
tension between work and family roles for women became particularly acute with
industrialization and the breakdown of the family as a productive unit and the
removal of work from the home to the factory and office.
While the relationships of macro-economic changes in the organisation and
structure of production to women's productive roles is fairly clear, and
increasingly well documented through studies of women's changing labor force
participation, the impact of these changes on women's reproductive roles is only
beginning to be explored. (ef. Memdaui 1972, Gtmenes 1977, Tilly 1977). In an
excellent article on the process of early tidustrialization in France, Tilly
(1977) describes how peasant families migrating to cities in search of wage labor
tried to asximise the number of wage earnTer they could acquire by contiaming to
have large audber of children. Since they had been divorced from their o.n means
of production and the only comh dity they could sell was their labor, woman as
well as men were incorporated into factory work, and only stopped working vhen
their children could replace tham as wage earners. (Ibid.: 10).
In contemporary Third World countries, a similar strategy appears to be
operating. That is, reaher than limitiag the number of children as a survival
strategy, proletarianiied working class families continue to have large families
so that. their wages ay contribute to the family's survival (eg. Madant, 1972,
Gluiees 1977). This would help explain why in many Third World countries there
has not bee a reduction in fertility levels as is coaonly assumed occur. with
with the onset of urbanization and industrialization. It would appear to be only
at a later stage of industrialization, when there is a sharp reduction in the
demand for unskilled workers and an increasing demand for skilled workers, and
when there are educational opportunities available to working class families
to enable them to acquire these skills, that there may be a reduction in family
size to enable working class families to invest more in a few children than in
the labor of many. Hence, changes in both the quality and the quantity of labor
| demand affect the reproductive strategies of working class families. To quote
Gimtnes (1977: 15) (1977:15) "Changes in reproductive patterns should, therefore,
be explained not as the outcome of formally rational behavior oriented by
socially determined preference systems, but in terms of what is objectively
required by the capitalist relations of production which are class relations or
relations of exploitation and deniniation."
This paper seeks to explore the changes in the reproductive strategies of
workin-telass weman by examinig data collected recently by the author and a
Bratlian college, Dr. Heleieth Saffioti, aMoparing Woen factory wokers in
Sao Paule, Brasil and a wotking-elass town in New Jersey. We worked together
en the research design and interview schedule and are just beginning to analyse
the results ftro a sample of 80 wmem factory workers in a ganaut plant in
New Jersey and 100 wemsh in a teatile and garment plant in Sao Paulo. One of the
glaring differences in our ample is that 'aost of the Brazilian sample consists of
yeaug, unmarried wome while pur new Jersey ample consists largely of older
married or formerly married wvaes. At the same tiae the household composition is
very different in th two eases, Brasiltan families being. larse with a high namber
of wageeaifers, while New Jersey families are small vigh one or two wageearmers.
These differences, I C hiM ean be explained by the contrasting reproductive
strategies of Brailian and .$S. Msaeny omsa, which to seared towasd eheangi
labor imAnds. a aapitalifst asde of peoantf* at two different ftges of
Brazilian Factory Women
While the U.S. may be characterized as an advanced capitalist economy, where
the vast bulk of the population depends on wages, Brazil is a dependent capitalist
society still incorporating many pre-capitalist features. Brazilian industrialization,
particularly in the post-war years, has been largely financed and directed from
abroad, particularly the U.S., and has become increasingly capital-intensive,
particularly in the Sao Paulo area where this study was conducted. The textile
industry was one of the first industries in Sao Paulo and has remained technologically
quite mixed, with very modern, capital-intensive plants, especially in synethetics,
and some older, more labor-intensive plants, particularly in natural fibers such
as the cotton textile factory studied here. The proportion of women workers is
generally auch lower in capital-intensivehighly automated plantewhich favor a
reduced umber of sale workers at higher wage and skill levels.
ooale development and indastrialisation has apparently not led to higher
labor force participation rates for Brasilian woeen, at least in itndstry. In. the
Sao Paulo area, despite very rapid rates of industrialization aitee 1940, the
percentage of wem employed in the setndary sector has imtreased freo only 14% i
1940 to 17f in 1970 (Vasquea Miranda 1977: 266). This to due to the faet that
industrialization has been primarily capital-iatensiwe, favoring a redaeed number.
of laborers who are priarily men. While bureameratic end clerical activitils for
wmen hve ipereased, these eceapatione have been limited predominantly to single
we-an of higher and middle soeal eeneatc sAtusa. In elerieal as wll as
industrial occupations, there is discrridnation n the labor msaet against married
Swmsa (Ibid.: 279).
The labor force for indestrialisatioa in the Sao Panlo area was drawn largely
fOa foreign Imai rants (especially Italians) and rural migrants expelled frma their
psat ead artisan activities in the countryside. In uar sample, 57% of the women
factory workers ar born outside the greater Sao Paulo ara, chiefly fro the
surrounding state of Sao Paulo and the Northeast. However, factory workers in
Latin America generally are not recent migrants, and our sample is no exception.
Over 60% of the migrants in our sample have been' living in the city for over
10 years, while over half said they came as children with their parents. The
educational level is also higher than that found among recent algrants, who are
generally employed in the informal economy as domestic servants, petty vendors,
etc. Among the factory women interviewed, 65% have completed pridry i school.
(signifying four years of education) while 251 have gone on to secondary school
or beyond. In short, a factory Job in Brazil and latin America generally,
represents a considerable advancement over jobs in the informal sector. While
wages axe very low by U.S. standards (48% earn between 2*3 minlaim salary units,
whish then represented about $96 $144 monthly), they are still higher and much
more stable than what can ba earned in the infaomal sector, especially by wmnn.
However, most waoen wotk in factories only for a short period of their lives,
frt the tiaa they finish prteary school until they marry. Thus, in our sample
49X hve worked in this factory less than four years and all but three of these
wo- are muder 24. Alng these factory women 64 are under 24 (241 ander 18),
sad only 13% are married ad 51 formerly married. The ast apparent reason behind
the mil umber of married wmn employed at the factory is the reluctance of the
loners teo py the rther liberal teriiy benefits to uhich ilploey pege~a:
weam ia 3rasil are entitled. Cultural attitudes also work against the mploytant
of iarrled wan, ad 51%-of our ample of rsagle womn indicated that they planed
to wok anly until marriage or pregnancy. While cultural attitudes umdou tedly favor
married womn staying hami, it vald appear to be primarily the abundance of
a: cheap, unskilled supply Of young, unmarried women whi mitigates against the
eaplopeat of u ried women
ee Brasil tan factory uama are freed to make a real choice betweda their
productive and reproductive roles; if they marry and have children, they will
probably be forced to give up working at least in factory jobs. Only 9.93% of
all married womae (with their husbands present) in Brazil are employed compared to
27.4% of single women living with there parents (Vasques Mitanda 1977: 270).
While they are single and living at home, however, they are expected to
contribute to the family income. Only 23 of our sample (and not a single married
woman) indicated that they apend their salary only on themselves, the rest
contributing all or mast of their salary to family and household eapenese, Asked
what would happen if they were not worktug, 42% noted that their families could
not afford to buy the seae things. It is clear then, that the meager ages of
these woman nakes a aajor contribution to the family's welfare.
In fact, Brazilian worktng-class families appear to be surviving by following
a policy of multiple wqegsearing, which drives both men and women into the labor
force at an early age. I cur aaple, 89% of the woa started working under
the qge of 18, mostly in factory worz. Those currently living with their parents
almost always started working under 18, ggesting it is parental pressaae ohieh
forces them to find a job. Ba eholds tend to be large and to include large asroers
of young a&duts wo can wotk and contribute to the family income. Thus, 28% of
our aepe eanaiet of households umbetaig aeven or more mwbers, with 401 of the
fmilee hbavig four or more werktg mbers each. (In the large families with
seven or more makers, 85% have four or more working members). In met eases -. ti
our respoudeats live with their parents (eaDteies only the mother), siblings, and
occasionally other related young adslt of the sam generation sbh ata easins.
Where neither parent is present, the woman nay be living with alblitag
or other relative* and friends. Hoa .er,. young arried couples generally live alone
or with their children and seldom with other relatives. Only two wman live alone.
The point appears to be to maximize the mmber of working mabers of the household,
all of wha are eapeted to contribute to the family income.
The relationship of family income to the number of persons working in the
household is shown by the fact that the highest incomes are found in households
with the largest number of workers. Thus, 52.6% of families with monthly incoaes
of more than Cr. 6000 (about $380) have from four to seven working members, compared
to 25% of those with one to three working members. Many of these working members
are brothers and sisters of the respondent. Among 68% of the respondents, from
one to three additional siblings are employed in the household, and in more than
three-fourths of these families, incomes range between Cr. 4000 to over Cr. 6000
monthly (about $250 to $380). This is still low considering the large size of
these families, but at this stage at least children seem to make a substantial
contribution to family incase.
It is difficult to know how these families survive when these children
are young and not working, particularly since it is difficult for mothers to make
up for their children's lack of earning capacity. It is significant that in our
simple, only 53% of married wan have higher family incomes of Cr. 4000 to
Cr. 6000 and more a month, compared to 72% of single women, most of whom live in
households with various wage-earners. Rapid inflation and lagging wage rates have
celebrated the decline in purchasing power of working class families in recent years,
resulting in a decrease in the real miniam wage in Sao Paulo from 100 in 1960 to
70 in 1970 (Wood 1977: 58). It has also contributed to the high rate of infant
mortality, which has increased 401 in Sao Paulo in the 1960-70 decade (Ibid.: 57).
thile loser fertility may appear necessary from the societal standpoint, in
reduinCg the surplus labor population, it still appears functional from the
perspective of the individual wakin'-elass family, which has only its labor to
*i 1 -- 1 -^ ^ i ^ ^ ^ ^ ~ ^ '- *' -'
sell. It is possible that reduced demand for unskilled labor in Brazil (in
industry as well as other sectors) and iuereasing opportunities for skilled work
in industrial as well as cleriael and bureaucratic activities may induce same
working class women to reduce their number of children in order to.educate them
for these higher level jobs. However, at present, the number of these jobs
appear far too sall to have a significant impact on fertility levels. The
limited growth of the modern sector, in a dependent capitalist society such as
Brasil, where greeth is heavily dependent on foreign technology, capital and
markets, inhibits the development of a sase skilled labor market such as occurred
in the U.S. or western BErope during the height of industrial growth. It also
prevents the employment of more marginal sectors of the labor force, such as
married women with children, who only entered the labor force in large members
in the post-industrial or monopoly capitalist phase of most advanced industrial
societies. In the next section we shall describe how this process operated in the
t. and it a implications fr female eployment and family size.
Pactory Wman in New Jersey
In the early days of iudustrialistaton in the U.S. the textile fIduttry also
deployed only young, nmartied wome. In New agland, where the textile -adustty
began, these oin were primarily the daughters of fa and artisan families who
lived in boarding houses furnished by the factory and under close surveillance
from the msnagemnc. However, as the industry burgeoned, the cost of these
relatively good living conditions for a resident female labor force grew too
expensive for textile aoners, and they turned Increasingly by the middle of the 19th
century to tiLigrant labor from abroad. (Kessler-Barris 1975:220-1). Immigration
thus proved another fruitful way of reprodtcing a cheap labor supply, particularly
sinese imigrat wonn tended to work all their lives, married or not. Married omen
often worked at haxn, sewag at exploitative piecewok rates on the pattfig ent
With the entry of inIgrant erm n into the labor force, working conditions in
the textile factories deteriorated rapidly, as did real wages. Nevertheless, the
proportion of gainfully employed migrant women or their daughters increased
steadily until 1910, when reform movements designed not only to improve factory
conditions but to "Aericanise"these women began to take effect (Ibid.: 228).
laigrant w~en, especially mothers, ware encouraged to stay at hame to take care
of their children and to regard retirement trom paid f-abor rather than job
advancement as a ign of upward mobility (Ibid. 223).
One of the chief eatcames of the reform ovment was the initiation of
protective legislation for wmen. Nothing so symbolized wamen's dal productive
and zeproductive role. As aKesler-arris (1975: 229) notes, protective legislation
"reaognised that wermo bad two jobs, on of which hd to be limited if the other
were to be parfomed adequately. Tat legislation in stitonalied the priaery
role of social reprodcetim by denying that moen were full-fledged embers of
the making clss... .erotective legislation thus provided a device for divid4ag
rowkers almog gender iues and stratifying the woek force in a period whn homo-
gmaity in lrevo of skill threatened to lead to developing class caoiusauness
and to give rise to class conflict." As in. Bras., it also reduced o-petittia
with sm by reducing the eaonoe desirability of arrived female employees. (Ibid.
r 230). By anhibiting the eployment of married wan, protective legislation thes
forced wome to focas ta their uespro dctiv roles and assured a loyers of an
sa mpae supply of fresh labor.
Despite these obstacles, however, the percentage of married wme in the U.S.
abor foee has increased dmlratteally, especially staee World War II, and as
of stsch 1974, presented 58 of all mouota wmean (U.S. Dept. of Lbor 1975: 16).
'oImp r, the increase has not been uniform in all sectors, or for all age nd
athIte gaps. be trammsnaI growth I clertei l jobs in tnhe peostwr petod
attrwted primarily young and chldless white vmwa initially. but the demad
.gmd lly asbamed moted mn. with children as wall (Ibid.: 13-14). lack
women shifted out of the domestic service category into other types of service
jobs (Ibid:: 105). Older married women without clerical skills were relegated
to marginal industrial jobs like the garment industry. They face less competition
in these poorly paid, marginal industries from younger women, who prefer cleaner,
more well paid clerical jobs. Older women also possess the sewing skills
necessary to compete at the piecework rates on which most garment plants o~eratei
Because of its marginality, the garment industry has always provided a haven for
newly arrived immigrants, most recentlytHispanics, who do not possess the
language and other educational skills needed in clerical and other types of
While the median age of operatives and particularly sewers is higher,
nationally than either clerical or service vwokers (1970 Census of Population,
Vol. I, Part 1, Table 226), In the garment plant we studied in New Jersey, certain
special factors contributed to the older age of their female labor force. The
most important factor is that the plant basically has been following a slow process
of attrition, sot hiring aWy workers in proditia siace the 1950's. Nowe t,
many female workers who ware hired in the 1940's and '50' have stayed on, so
that 71% have ben working in the same plant twenty yars and more. Eighty percent
of the s are over 40 and over half are aroried. The remainder are almost equally
divided betmea single and formerly married (atsally widowed) wrma, the ajofrit
of whom oe ever 50. Moet of these wm. live in the local worklng-class
neighborhood or marby, the daughters of ItalinPol i and other east Daropean
woekere who were attracted to the job possibilities in manual labor in this area
earlier in the century. Their husbands are also predae aantly factory workers,
as are their brothers and sisters. They live in a blue-oollar world.
The reaas this plant has sot hired ma-y workers since the 1950's is that
production has been moving to other areas, first cheaper labor areas within the
US. (e.g. West Virginia), then to Puerto Rico in the 1950's, and now to ni~ert i
foreign areas like the Dominican Republic. This has became a prevalent trend
in the garment industry in the Northeast, which suffered a 40% decline in jobs
in the 1960-70 decade, a loss which continued at the rate of 12,000 jobs per year
through 1973. (Bureaw of Labor Statistics 1975: 104-5). The decline is brought
on primarily by the desire to cut labor costs by moving to areas of lower wages
and non-mnionized labor, both in the U.S. and abroad. The "runaway shop" thus
represents a third strategy for supplying a cheap labor force in advanced
capitalist societies where unions and other factors have helped to drive up labor
costs, and is particularly attractive to labor-intensive industries such as
gameant, Rather than taporting amisgrant labor, the runaway shop reports s jobs."
The womn at the Mew Jersey plant are aware that jobs are being lost and
fear for the security of their own emplopent, even though the plant is unionied.
One of the chief complaints is that workers are constantly being switched from
one job to another (to replace lost persa:nel) whikb slos down their piedeaork
rate, and hence their wage. One of the brankes of the factory often closes me
day a week for lack of work, and of corise the wgon are not paid a fPll wage.
Wages in the gatment industry are the lowest of any majoe industrial graup
in the U.S., about $3.00 an hour is 1974 (HACLA 1976: 8). Though wages mea be
itnreased substantially through pioeewe almost 401 of the wmen sampled esat
between $100 and $139 a week, while the highest wmkly salaries run to $160 and
over, 2thogh meh higher than those of brailiai wamne factory workers, wages
are still insufficient to support a family eand barely enough for a single person to
live on. Ovr half the families sampled have a total anmal ianome of les than
$10,000. Signitfiently, the lowest ineass are found among the single and feormrly
married (mostly widened) wmae in our sample, 40 of whea depend solely an their
own ages. In 68% of these families with a single wage earner, annual incomes
are under $8000. Stgle women live alone or with a relative (usually a sister)
and often in a hoa that they have inherited from their parents and thus have no
housing costs. Widow and other formerly married women either live alone (45%)
or with their children (45%), who presumably contribute to the family incese if
they are working. The highest incomes in this group are found in families with
two or more wage earners, most of whom are husband nd wife. All but five of the
forty married wemen in our sample have households with two or more wage a tners.
However, while both husband and wife may work, there is a clear difference
from the Brazilian multiple wage*earning family, particularly in the dependence on
children. In Hew Jersey, children do not make a major contribution to faFily
incame because 1) the number of children per family is quite small and 2)
children receive a mch higher education, and require longer years of support. O
they leave school, they tend to marry and have their ow families to support.
The families of these Now Jersey woman factory worer are maeh Mller than
in Sto Paulo. Hadian family sise in New Jersey is appraozmately 2.5 eaqvped to
5.06 it Sae Paleo S53. of these households consist of oe or two personas., while
it sust be resotnized that most of these families are at a different stage of
the life sycle, with aet children grown aend living outside the household, the
tetal aMber of children they. have had. I also simb smller; over half of the
New Jesey mw had amly me or two children, ihile in Sao Paule, 43.3% of ear
rspondents had ever five siblings)
This mell ambetr children is all the more striking when ca ared to the
1) Because of the wide age differences in our sample and sinae so few of uar
Brailian orespaondxe aem married, we ecapared the siUe of the family i which
Brasilian factory wokers were raised, with the total asmber of childra borne
by Nes Jersey factory wjom.n
families in which these vinn Vera raised, vhich wore much largert 207. of these
Nw Jersey wmein had seven or more siblings, while another 20% had Live to serWa.
in short, when w CePa*ae totally number of- siblings among'older woimn faEtory
workers, lii uSm Jersey, with the younger generation in See. Pulo, they begin
to lock very siniler. Clearly there he' been a sherp decline in family site fromia
their parents to their ovn generation gmomg our Niew Jersey respondents. This would
seem to argue against the inlunene o* 2teliglon or other cultural factors in
deteramiifg family size. 'In both canss, we ame dealing with a predomlnamitly Catholic
pqlpation; two-thirit of the New Jersey %omen as caspared to 8M. of th bSac
Paul@ wen *re Catholic. it would appear that the da9tic reduction in~ family
size in umw Jersey is due largely to dthame I labor demad &ad a stweug desire
for teuw8d 4111,. As SaiereassA .poted itieos for both. smog ped opn toa the
for "mid *0 11t Od
U.S. in eauweooeller Jebs, rupiring higsB levels of eaSMation, wvLs-tfitj- a.
feenuo bgm a ve e~d:. thev ofb er of labl isk wder to tv them re
haestiua there m me solonger a used Lee a larg" tab** peel, as t still'
pumltent in 1tmlg but for ...1l .1b O blly oleamtar wkse pzwi
met ~ doa giming etr 41it*-40.Ua j". It le quite lowely that tM
ouInflfml e Prowla" by the Ufmt"' s aw siea0 Mkit. smsll. Mablel tmse
fusiliga em stee their 4ildurana ehIftir edvaWM. It is vey dmfikil if 044P
*u"Id haft Nmer s ovlo it* h *14SA tesb= sa1.sa. aim* mase uMn, like their
06 MW=G e eaft -aiss-colla leto Im idtme-lleh Jobs o be SO bY. cmeaveng
a OVEtO h.0 falur Ma ama. WWbMwa. t fathews (1 s ed .1
wait*) an o re -m ilqd isWto bliiiuwllav je, In LaMiliew *10 sm, 8.
ag e 4lq' 1 whiseuseljle & b. j anpared Ct 4M9 l nl lm.eelllervmr*. 1&l. the
simple be is oVe small ad tbsr'.ftre sdbmli be WtvR tpr d with -a grea deal of
eaftsism, df I-amud 96=0d WhMi0llr s"loztm 14 uamtakable. The pmestage
of da~b~tar is m ubt~caismpollar WM i9 hhoer (707.) pzdsobly reflaiag the
v eW a ,alersIal usplaymmt pw%.m Is .,additdton the opree to which
white-collar employment is dependent on a higher education is shown by the fact
that most of the oldest sons and daghtera of these New Jersey vo) in's-lase
families who now hold h.ite-collar jobs have been to college and samtiass
While it is difficult to establish a relationship between the mother's
~plo ment and the children's mediation with the data collected here, it is
worth noting that in all but a few eases, among the children who Ment to college
or graduate school, the mothers have been working twenty years and more.
Cleai we aem dealing here with a very different reproductive stratep
froh that bsszrvd among Brazilian working class waen. Families are qite ',
smell, but both hIabad and wife work to praoote their children's ability fran
blue-collar into white-collea work. This relneeas th decreasiag demand for
blue collar wekers in the U.S., partiLEaarly aemog women, and the trmeMdoas
increase in white-collar and particularly clerical employamet. It also rfieets
increasing idueational opportunities in the U.S., though not. without ecaiderable
financial support and saerifiee from their parents, As Giaines (1977: 19) points
"Only under exOeptional eircsstances will the capitalist
classes aske direct investwBat to upgrade the quality of
specific seetora of the labor fore...Ordiaerily that
upgrading is finned by the workers themuslves who, by
iavesatg in their owi 'bOnmm capital' or by reprod&ting
labor power of quality higher than their mo, through the
traiaian and/or education of beeir offspring, give rise to
the pheasnmeon of 'social mobility." It is sthrf g the
process of self-a)*pgading,. to which the. working classes
and salary earners are forced, that differences in repro-
ductive behavior megQe."
Self upgrading among watkers involves a dual burden on the family; not
only usrt they bear the direct costs of education (aome of which may be absotred
by the state), but they mast also suffer the loss of their children's labor
which would otherwise have been allocated to the family. Minge-Kalman (1978)
documents this very well in the case of European peasant families who are in a
transition toward wage labor. As the children erase to work on the family farm
and require more years of education for skilled wage labor, their foregone labor
is made up by the parents, and chiefly the mother. She writes:
"Since much of the foregone labor of children is labor
that wauld have been allocated to the family farm which
is continued by mothers when fathers take wage labor on
the average, the. mother' a labor hours increase more than
the father's as children's education level increases." (Minge-
Kalman 1978: 18 .
I think a similar argument can be .ade for urban working-class families.
tHere however, the labor of the children is not donated to the family fain.
Instead, as we have seen in Brazil, the children's wages are contributed to
the family inteome, and fore an important part of the family's survival sttategy.
If children rea ire a higher education, and cannot work and contribute to the
family intcce, then the family must acupeasate for this loes in wages oa iase
way. The data from New Jersey factory families weuld seen to asugest that they
compensate by reducing family sise and by having women continue to weoa pest the
age of marriage and childbearing. This weld than help explain why the
industrial female labor force in Sao Paulo (and Darsil generally) semsiats largely
of young, married wae~ while in the U.S. therm is a wseh higher peteastage ef
older, married wanen employed4 in factory work. In Brasil there is little
incentive for/women to work or reduce their family ase, sinee there is ely a
= a11ll chance their ch idrea will be able to enter the skilled labor rOe. anyway.
Reproduction and family tsee thus appear to became an lopoetant sarvial
strategy in working class families who have lost acotrol ovr the proaetive
process through the process of proletarianisation While families cease to
Produce food or other goods for a ceemodity market, their reproductive fuontiens
as producers of labor remain equally or more important. To quote Tilly (1977: 4)
"Families can adjust and modify reoroductive strategy whereas production is a
system outside the range of an individual faaily's control."
In this paper, we have seen how working class women'e reproductive roles
in two very different societies have been geared to the changing needs of an
industrial capitalist labor market. When the demand for unskilled labor is
still relatively large, as in Brazil, wamen ms continue to have large families
and to look on children's wages as an important component of the family' a income
and survival strategy On the other hand, when there is a change in the quality
of the labor demand, requiring higher skill levels, as in advanced industrial
societies such as the U.S., then women may redee their family sise in order to
provide their children with more education. As we have seen, this also affects
how long vwmeat may work. When children require more years of schooling, wouen may
continue workig after they are married and have children to compensate for the
loses in children's weegs This in tarn is influenced by the labor demand for
married wuen in industrial and elereal seploymentW
%wll depamdeat eanitalist societies each es Brasil ver reach this stage?
While there is samo aeideme that the aepleoyamo of married woua is friowsring
moe i aetrialieta eouantriema aueh as tssil mad Argentina (ea. Waiteoem 1977)
they wold apear to be bratrlly middle-laese weas entering eletieal jobs. Ihis
is likely to hseu little iwaect on family size or upward occupational moblitty in
the wotiug clees. Instead, it appeatAr the gap is groitag between the relatively
privileged employees of the modern exorte sector and the nue mass of unemployed
and undetrepioed aufgkilled workers, of both seoesi. (cf. Safe 1977). As long as
0 ---- -- -- ..-
this siftatlto eotiames," woga are likely to contlue having large families and
to tely on ehildrmte' labor as a majoT a caee of survival.
II *a *I 4 ,
'Bureau oZ Labor Statistics,
l975 A Socio-econauic Profile of Puerto Rican New Yorkers. U.S. De1ot. .f
Labor, Middle Atlantie Regional Office, New Yo3xk, N.Y. Regional Report 41.
1977 Popination dnd Capitalism. Latin American Ptrsteetftas Issue 15,
Volume I, No*.. 4. pp. 5-41
Kessler_ 1arriasi Alice
1973 Str&tifyizng by Se=z. Understandi2g tha H1stor of Wotiing Women. -In
LABOR IARKT?2 SEGMTTaTL"1O. nichard C. Edwards, Michael reich, David
H. Gordon, eda. LSazington, Mnss: D.C. Reath and Co.
1972 THE IVITH Or POPULATICNk, ctIM.ROL: FAWLY, CASTE, AIM CLASS IN AN
TINIAII VThLAGM. NeWY Yooi,: monthly Rev iew Press.
1978 A 'TAm-p y of the !Mrapeta tc oehold Economy during the ?.aspnt to
Wetet TranSition:. with an Btapiri"I Test froam a Swies Alpine.-
vill9as*. oEEtE uo~ (44odticomirZ)
197S Capital*@ MoP t: The A79cal Tea3fstw yj H Scuth. Vpl. 1, .. 3,
new v.*' r. Y.
$aifa, Holes Ien
1971 Vke CtkangI Olaa Cems C osit1e a of the YLal* labar ?a=* ito Latai
Ametrca. Ldt! er f _tive4 tseve 15. Volme IV, NW- 4.
Tilly. Lewis* A
1977 PpdiaetloA SM42 EVr.cttim t msol Lit&$ of Woir1c sd Ftlali lka
V s D.,t of Labor
1975 1975 Waadbook c*2 soma votitevrs. Vemm"s amurem, fa'latinu 197.
*oumes de Mifrada. f 1mt aur
1q7fi Wmen's Labor ?orze Partic!n tiofa in a Develoning SoctetY: The
Cat*- of 11". ell Jiual of Womiof en in EOa1 turs and foteeeq.'
Vial. 3, no. 1.
Watierman, Cataliae H.
1977 ParticipaciA Econeomica Pemenina en la Argentina en 1970. In
PARTICIPACIOC DE LS 4JBREMS EN LA ACTIVIDAD ECOCMICA EN LA
AGTENTINA, 2. fecchini de Lattes, uth Sautu, Catalina Wainerman,
Centre de e6tudies de Poblaceon, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Wood, Charles H.
1977 Infatt Mortality Trenda and Capitalist Development in Brazil: The
Case of Sao Paulo and Belo Horltonte. Latin American Perspectives,
Vol. IV, No. 4, pp. 56-65.