• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Abstract
 Introduction
 The specialty steel plant
 The steel mill
 Characteristics of discriminat...
 Worker behavior
 Notes
 Bibliography
 Back Cover














Group Title: Working papers - Women in International Development, Michigan State University ; no. 104
Title: Women in nontraditional industry
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086783/00001
 Material Information
Title: Women in nontraditional industry the case of steel in Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela
Series Title: Working paper
Physical Description: 23 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Rakowski, Cathy A
Michigan State University -- Office of Women in International Development
Publisher: Office of Women in International Development, Michigan State University
Place of Publication: East Lansing
Publication Date: c1985
 Subjects
Subject: Women iron and steel workers -- Venezuela   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Venezuela
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 23.
Statement of Responsibility: Cathy A. Rakowski.
General Note: "November 1985."
Funding: Working paper (Michigan State University. Office of Women in International Development) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086783
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 13552824

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Abstract
        Abstract
    Introduction
        Page 1
    The specialty steel plant
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The steel mill
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Characteristics of discrimination
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Worker behavior
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Notes
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Bibliography
        Page 23
    Back Cover
        Page 24
Full Text






WORKING PAPERS


WOMEN IN NONTRADITIONAL INDUSTRY:
THE CASE OF STEEL IN CIUDAD
GUAYANA, VENEZUELA
Cathy A. Rakowski
Working Paper #104
November 1985


MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY


i.


'e
























































Copyright 1985, MSU Board of Trustees




















WOMEN IN NONTRADITIONAL INDUSTRY:
THE CASE OF STEEL IN CIUDAD
GUAYANA, VENEZUELA

Cathy A. Rakowski

Working Paper #104
November 1985













Abstract: This paper recounts the experience of the incorporation of women
into heavy industry during the employment boom of 1974-1979 in Ciudad
Guayana and the decline in female employment in the years following the
boom. The first and second sections of the paper outline the features of
female incorporation at a specialty steel plant and at the state-owned steel
mill which, combined, account for over 70 percent of all manufacturing
employment in the city. The third section presents the characteristics of
the discrimination to which two groups of women, laborers and engineers,
were subjected. The fourth and final section analyzes the effects of
discrimination on worker behavior and suggests that both male discriminatory
behavior and female coping mechanisms are not only the result of the
structural factors of power, opportunity, and numbers identified by Kanter
in her classic 1977 study, but are also associate with factors of class,
age, and culture. Thus, it is necessary to include considerations of both
structural factors and individual or personality characteristics to develop
corrective programs in a particular organization or culture.

About the Author: Cathy Rakowski received her Ph.D. from the University of
Texas-Austin. Her major research interests include Latin America, gender
studies, and the sexual division of labor. She has lived and worked in
Venezuela for the last six years.










WOMEN IN NONTRADITIONAL INDUSTRY:
THE CASE OF STEEL IN CIUDAD GUAYANA, VENEZUELA


The 1975-1979 boom in the Venezuelan economy was the direct result of
rapid increases in petroleum revenues and large international loans taken
out by the federal government and private investors for an ambitious
investment program. Venezuela "sowed petroleum," that is, used oil income
to promote other industries. In one way or another, whether through
broad-reaching social welfare and community development programs or through
direct employment, all sectors of the population benefitted from the boom.
Women were no exception. In fact, the growth of female labor in both
traditional and nontraditional activities' is an outstanding feature of
the boom years (Cordiplan 1982; Valecillos 1982).

This paper recounts the experience of the incorporation of women into
heavy industry during the boom, specifically in and around Ciudad Guayana,
site of the large-scale Venezuelan Guayana Development Program. The core of
this program is a large steel complex, two aluminum plants, an alumina
plant, an iron ore mining concern, a bauxite mining concern, a forestry
project, a large hydroelectric project, and the construction of a new city.
In 1960, the program was designated by the federal government as the "key to
the development of Venezuela" and, as such, has traditionally received about
20% of all federal investment funds.

Several factors contributed to female employment in nontraditional
activities in Guayana and throughout Venezuela in the late 1970s. These
included the coverage given to the United Nations International Women's Year
in 1975, the increasing numbers of female university graduates in science
and engineering, and women's involvement in political activities, unions and
legal reforms. An underlying factor is the public recognition of the high
proportion of female-headed households in Venezuela.2 In the case of
Ciudad Guayana, the new, planned industrial city founded in 1961, by far the
most important factor in creating female employment in nontraditional jobs
was the rapid expansion of salaried employment following an upsurge in
investment revenues directed to the program.

The incorporation of women in nontraditional activities in Ciudad
Guayana took place between 1975 and 1979 as the result of a labor crisis
brought on by the sudden increase in construction projects and the expansion
of production in several large-scale industrial projects, including steel
and aluminum. During that period, Ciudad Guayana's population was growing
from approximately 213,500 in late 1974 to 331,000 by late 1979. This is a
total growth of 55 percent in five years. Employment in construction
increased from approximately 4,400 persons in November 1974 to about 25,000
in mid-1979, its peak. Employment in manufacturing rose from slightly over
16,000 in late 1974 to over 27,000 by mid-1979.3 This represents a total
increase of 465 percent for construction and 69 percent for manufacturing,
much higher than the total growth of 45 percent for the rest of the labor
force. About 70 percent of all manufacturing employment in 1979
corresponded to the steel mill. If construction workers on site at the Guri












Dam project are added to the above figures, the total employment in
construction in and around Ciudad Guayana approached 34,000 in 1979. By
1979, Ciudad Guayana's labor force numbered 93,000.

Between 1980 and 1983, as part of a broader study of the division of
labor in Ciudad Guayana (Rakowski 1984a, 1984b), I carried out a case study
of the incorporation of women into a privately-owned specialty steel plant
and the larger state-owned steel mill. My primary interest was the use of
women as a reserve labor force| during the boom. During the case study,
however, I became convinced that these two experiences--as recounted by
women who lived through them and by the male managers who evaluated their
performance--reflect universal Ifeatures of the structural and personal
discrimination women must overcome in order to survive in large
organizations such as that described by Kanter (1977). At the same time,
these experiences point clearly to the importance of class and personality
differences as women develop strategies for coping with discrimination.

The descriptive analysis that follows is based primarily on interviews I
conducted in 1981 with male managers, female engineers, and female laborers
at the state-owned mill and at a smaller specialty steel plant that
subcontracts work for the mill. In the case of the mill, the Personnel
Department supplied additional data on worker performance and basic
personnel data for both male and female workers on the daily (wage) and
monthly (salaried) payrolls from 1980 and 1981.

The case of the specialty steel plant is presented first, followed by a
discussion of the state-owned mill.4 The third and final sections present
conclusions about the similarities between these experiences and those
described by Kanter (1977) and by Deaux and Ellman (1983) regarding
structural barriers and discrimination and the coping strategies developed
by women.

The Specialty Steel Plant

In 1976, the privately-owned specialty steel plant employed
approximately 400 persons of which 280 were laborers in production. That
year, management hired 75 women who had been selected from some 200
applicants who answered radio and newspaper ads for female personnel. These
women represented 27 percent of all laborers engaged in direct steel
production.

By December 1981, only three of the 75 women remained and all three had
transferred out of direct production and into the drafting office. Two of
the women were interviewed at that time (the third was on pregnancy leave),
as was the manager and an outside consultant (both male) who had helped
design and implement the "experiment with women."

Personnel data records for the period were closed and there were no
evaluations of the experience. This aspect of the study, therefore, relied












on respondent recall. Individual interviews were conducted first with a
group interview at a later date. All interviews produced what the four
respondents agreed was a fairly accurate sketch of the "experiment" with
only few differences between men and women regarding why it failed.

Management's reasons for hiring women at this plant in 1976 were typical
of those in the area at that time: shortages of male labor and a belief
that women would be more docile. (Ciudad Guayana's labor unions are noted
for their militancy.) But management anticipated some problems peculiar to
female labor which they wanted to deal with directly. These included:

a) Marriage--the risk of training single women for a short work life
(estimated at two years),

b) Pregnancy leave and absenteeism for child care for married women or
those in consensual unions, or

c) Menstrual problems and absenteeism at monthly intervals.

Management reviewed similar experiences from Japan, Spain, and Germany
and decided they could eliminate at least one of these problems--pregnancy
and child care absenteeism--by hiring only single women. Only three of the
75 women who were hired in 1976 had children when they entered. They had
been recommended by supervisors at the plant as responsible heads of
household. Two of these mothers and only one single woman are the three who
remain at the plant in 1981.

Specifically, management looked for young, single women who also had
some responsibility for supporting their families in the expectation this
would offset the lack of maturity and experience.5 Women were chosen
according to their level of education and their personality (ascertained
through an interview) and then separated into two groups. Those who had
completed primary school spent six weeks as paid trainees and became
welders. Women who had completed high school spent twelve weeks as paid
trainees and became cortadoras--precision cutters.6 All three women who
remained at the plant in 1981 had been precision cutters.

Women's size and strength were not taken into account in the hiring
process, but were considered when assigning them specific tasks.

The male manager said that, much to his surprise, problems related to
the menstrual cycle never arose. (He had been opposed to hiring women for
precisely this reason.) Overall, female absenteeism was significantly lower
than that of men. But problems of enamoramiento (courtship and seduction)
and pregnancy arose almost immediately. Enamoramiento created
confrontations between men and unwilling women on the job or led to "fooling
around" in the plant. All four respondents blamed this phenomenon on
"hotblooded young males for whom sex was primordial" and "inexperienced
young girls" who allowed the men to take physical liberties and "didn't know
how to command'respect." The women interviewed were quick to point out that












the problem was greater among the welders, whose lower level of education
and "culture" handicapped dealing with men. The men interviewed agreed this
was probably true although they had tended to generalize the problem to all
women. When several women worked together a group, these problems tended to
disappear. The problems also lessened with time and as men became more
accustomed to having female co-workers.

At the time of the "experiment," the plant had serious problems with the
labor union and union leaders were quick to use the women as pawns in its
conflicts with management. For instance, although most pregnant women did
not request a change of job,; union leaders used pregnancy as a pretext to
challenge authority, insisting that the weight of the welding torch and
positions assumed by workers would be dangerous to the fetus. As a result,
although women were hired in part to diminish labor conflict, they were
drawn into that conflict by the union.

As their children were born, mothers began to leave work voluntarily.
Other women simply became disenchanted with the work and left or were fired
for poor performance. About half the women were fired outright in the
second year, together with about one-fourth of the men. These were
individuals who had participated in a production slowdown ordered by the
union. Several women transferred to the technical office or into
secretarial positions offered them by management.

In general, the two men interviewed felt the women were less productive
than the men. In the first few months, female productivity was high but
declined almost immediately and supervisors began to ask to have the women
removed from their crews. In a few cases, supervisors complained that the
women distracted the men, but the manager interviewed insisted the main
problem was low productivity and the resistance of women to working the
night shift.7

The women interviewed provided a slightly different version. They
agreed on the details of the mass firing of men and women and the sexual
problems that arose. But they believed that most women were more productive
than the average man because they "showed more interest in their work."
They agreed that there were some "lazy" women just as there were "lazy" men
and some women took advantage of their gender to get special treatment. But
they also observed men "forcing" help on unwilling women out of a sense of
chivalry. They believed that, as a group, women were more motivated and
this motivation was a key element in productivity.

These women were of the opinion that men reacted to the hiring of women
with jealousy--"their territory was being invaded." At first, the insults
and verbal harassment were widespread, but they diminished with time.
Later, when the women proved to be good workers, jealousy and rivalry
reoccurred among some men who felt their "masculinity threatened." At the
same time, other men developed a new-found respect for women as workers.
Immediate co-workers almost never caused problems. Men from other crews
were the source of most conflicts and attempts to embarrass the women.8












But some men were confused about whether or not to be chivalrous on the
job. The company helped resolve these problems by forming small discussion
groups to deal with them openly and to allow male and female co-workers the
chance to communicate over family and work issues.

The two women interviewed believed that most of the problems arose from
the company policy of hiring only single women. "Most were young girls and,
like all normal girls, they wanted to have boyfriends." There was only one
incident of a former prostitute soliciting at the plant; most women appeared
to have entered relationships naively and with co-workers. The only
incident of apparent sexual harassment on the part of a foreman was duly
investigated by the company.9 One male laborer who tried to molest a
woman after work hours was immediately fired. The company instituted a
support system for women when harassment arose, and the women interviewed
believed that more women would have quit if not for this support.

The women interviewed were extremely proud of their skills and work
experience. Both found their plant work challenging though dirty. They
transferred out of the plant only after most other women had left and when
male resistance to the remaining women began to increase again. At this
point, management's support system was withdrawn since it considered the
experiment a failure. The few remaining women were encouraged to leave
production.

In their final comments, the male manager and consultant said that women
rejected production work and always wanted to transfer into the office area
to cleaner, higher status (though not higher-paying) jobs. "Women never
said so outright because they were too proud, but they accepted quickly when
we offered." After further questioning, the men reconsidered this statement
and added that they might be applying it selectively to women. Men also
wanted to move out of the plant and into the office area and "they
constantly requested transfers." At any rate, it was management's position
as of December 1983 (unchanged as of May 1985) that women were excellent in
drafting positions and on the technical staff but did not work out in the
area of production. They have no desire to repeat the experiment.

The Steel Mill

The state-owned steel mill is composed of 34 production centers, located
in 23 separate plants, which produce a variety of finished and semi-finished
steel products through several technological processes. These start with
oxygen and electric furnaces. "Rolling" of steel and continuous casting in
electric furnaces are the most common processes and have reduced
considerably the requirements of strength and body size that characterized
labor in less-advanced steel production processes. The mill has its own
railway system to connect production areas and to link it with the briquette
factory and the iron ore mining facility which are both located outside the
industrial zone. In 1979, the mill hired 586 women to work as unskilled or
semi-skilled laborers in production. At the time, the mill employed over
19,000 persons, of which about 10,000 were workers engaged directly in












production. Including the 586 laborers, there were 1,420 women employed by
the mill.10

The first women engineers were hired in 1974. By 1981, there were
approximately 50 women working as engineers at the mill. That same year,
less than 100 women remained as plant laborers and most of these were
janitors. Total male and female employment stood at about 15,000.

A broad data base is available for evaluating the experience of the
incorporation of women at the mill. I carried out interviews in 1980 and
1981 with representatives of the labor union (SUTISS) and with managers from
various administrative divisions, including Industrial Medicine, Labor
Relations, Human Resources, Personnel, Industrial Engineering and Social
Services. Management made available several reports and surveys that
evaluated the characteristics and needs of female employees and the
performance of Iproduction workers, both men and women. In 1981, 17
production laborers, three production supervisors, and 25 female engineers
were interviewed individually. On three occasions, male and female
engineers were also interviewed informally in groups.

The entry of female engineers at the mill was due primarily to two
factors: 1) the increasing numbers of women graduating from national
metalurgical and mechanical engineering programs, many of whom were former
classmates of male engineers working at the mill who helped them obtain
employment; 2) the shortage of technical professionals in the
country.11 A third factor was the reluctance of professionals to live in
Ciudad Guayana,! a frontier city characterized by shortages in urban
services, lack of cultural infrastructure, and a hot, humid climate.
Management did not approve of a general policy of hiring women; however, in
the face of shortages, specific female engineers with outstanding
credentials or those recommended by colleagues were hired.

The mill held out on hiring women as production laborers until 1979,
despite a move on the part of other industries to hire women between 1975
and 1978 and a government campaign carried out through the mass media to
encourage women to enter construction and technical training programs in the
city. In 1978, the continued shortage of male labor, the increasing numbers
of women who applied for work, 2 and the personal encouragement of the
president of the mill broke down the resistance of the male managers and
supervisors who had previously rejected female applicants referred by the
Personnel Department. Hiring of female laborers began in January 1979
following a study by the Division of Industrial Engineering and the Division
of Industrial Medicine.

The study used guidelines established by Labor Law and the physical
requirements specified in job profiles to identify 3,017 potential
production jobs (29% of a total of 10,393) where the mill would permit women
to work.13 By November 1979, only 19% of the potential jobs and 5.6% of
all production jobs had been filled by women.












Surveys of female laborers conducted by mill personnel in 1979 and the
interviews I carried out in 1981 found that the majority of the women were
divorced, widowed, or abandoned heads of household with several children to
support. Most were over thirty years old. Representatives of the labor
union in 1980 confirmed that most were single mothers for whom employment at
the mill was the only viable alternative to domestic service or prostitution.

Surveys by Fritcher (1979) and Laprea (1979) were carried out when
female employment was at its peak. They found that over half of the 586
women occupied in direct production were unskilled laborers, most of whom
worked as janitors. This is the lowest-paid occupation in the area of
production. Less than 5% of the women were skilled technicians. Although
women and men in the same occupations earned the same wage, men were more
evenly distributed across all occupations with the exception of the lowest
level where women were concentrated. Most of the women in skilled or
semi-skilled occupations were torch cutters, carpenter's apprentices,
packers, dispatchers, quality control inspectors, warehouse stockers,
machinists (light machinery), crane operators, fork lift operators and
welders.

In contrast, the female engineers tended to be young, single women,
recently graduated, for whom work at the mill was their first job. Of the
25 female engineers sampled, about 25% were married, half of them to male
engineers working in the Guayana program; another 20% were divorced women
attracted by the housing benefits offered to mill professionals. All the
female engineers had entered the public sector because it offers a greater
opportunity for the advancement of women than does the private sector where
discrimination in employment and wages is greater.

Although the mill had no explicit policy for channeling women toward
certain engineering tasks, individual managers tended to request male
engineers for work involved directly in production and assigned women to
quality control, sales, services, and auxiliary activities. Only a few
women managed to literally "fight" their way into production jobs, usually
through pressure placed on close friends or political cronies, by direct
protests to upper-level management, or through the intervention of the
professional organizations in which they were active.14 These strategies
were curtailed when managers wrote gender requirements into the occupational
profiles they were asked to prepare to standardize specifications for
engineers. At the time of the interviews in 1981, approximately 16% of the
50 female engineers worked in production, and only two women held managerial
positions, both at lower levels.

By 1980, employment reductions in construction followed the completion
of several large projects, including the Phase IV expansion of the steel
mill. This released skilled and semi-skilled male labor for work in other
industry sectors, including manufacturing. By the end of that year, the
mill was already laying off women in production. By early 1981, the country
faced an economic crisis, and there was an abrupt drop in international
steel prices as well as a reduction in the demand for steel from national












and international markets; these factors led to serious production declines
in the steel mill. At this :time and despite official claims to the
contrary, a well-documented policy was instituted to lay off workers and,
specifically, to block the continued hiring of female laborers. Supervisors
were told to "fire the women first."15 The labor union--which by law
supplied up to 75% of the labor needed--indicated that the letters that
arrived from Personnel specifying new labor requirements clearly indicated
"males only" or requested "women over age 35 to work as janitors." Union
officials were too busy with the overall layoff problem to do more than
offer a verbal protest to this move.

The decision to fire women in production was not linked to a higher
absenteeism, higher turnover rates, or lower productivity. In fact, studies
conducted by mill personnel of laborers hired during 1979 indicate that
women showed significantly lower absenteeism and turnover rates than did
men. One study found that productivity levels (units produced per worker)
increased significantly between 1978 and 1979 for production areas where
women were incorporated; the same did not hold true for areas with no
women. This did not necessarily mean women were more productive; rather, it
was interpreted by personnel analysts to mean that the presence of women had
a positive effect on all productivity. The Laprea and Fritcher studies
reached the same conclusion and also found that supervisors subjectively
considered women to be less productive despite their acknowledged lower
absenteeism and greater effort on the job. The main factors attributed by
supervisors to productivity problems were the lower levels of training and
experience that women as a group brought with them to the job. The women
laborers interviewed at that time (1978-79) concurred with the supervisors
and expressed a need for further training to improve their performance and
their opportunities for promotion. Many reported they depended heavily on
the good will of their supervisors to teach them job skills.

Despite the opinion of supervisors that female laborers were less
productive as a group than men, almost all the sixty supervisors surveyed by
Laprea said they thought the mill should continue to hire women and offer
them training. They pointed out that two-thirds of all labor problems and
conflicts arose between men and that women were more likely to heed safety
measures and less likely than men to defy authority. Most problems with
women stemmed from their greater difficulty in working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
shift, the lack of physical facilities (bathrooms and lockers) for them, and
the risk of pregnancy.16 Size or strength factors were not considered
major obstacles. These supervisors believed, however, that women should be
hired for very specific tasks--janitorial work and the operation of light
machinery.

The 155 female laborers Fritcher interviewed and the seventeen laborers
I interviewed in 1981 agreed with male supervisors that men and women are
different and cannot always handle the same jobs. These laborers justified
discrimination on the basis that women are the weaker sex. Furthermore,
their family responsibilities encouraged accepting light tasks at the mill
in order to save strength for household tasks. But, unlike their male












supervisors, one of the jobs women considered unsuitable for female laborers
was that of janitor; they found it too taxing. These women aspired to be
electricians, carpenters, machinists, grease monkeys, welders and
plumbers--well-paid, skilled craft jobs they considered appropriate for
women.

The final report on female productivity by Laprea and her work group
recommended hiring women and providing for training and promotion. Their
recommendations followed closely those of the supervisors and interviewed
and took into account women's preferences as well. Upper-level management
disregarded the findings of the study, however, because, in the words of one
manager, "the conclusions are suspect ... the report was prepared by women."

Laborers were not the only women who faced discrimination or the
questioning of their productivity. Female engineers confronted many of the
same arguments against their incorporation into production. Managers
expressed concern that working at the mill conflicted with the engineers'
femininity and assumed women would prefer placement in "cleaner" work
environments. Production work also requires rotating shifts, being on call
24-hours a day, and working overtime. Female engineers were told they were
being channeled into nonproduction areas to protect them from these
demands. Although some single mothers and married engineers found this to
be to their liking, a larger group protested they were being "protected"
from the benefits of over-time and night pay and from promotion. The mill,
because of its size and centralized administration, is structured so that
all but production jobs are dead-ended at lower management levels. To rise
to upper-level management, an engineer must work his or her way up through
the production ladder.

Female laborers in 1979 encountered initial resistance from some male
co-workers. These men had not been prepared for the incorporation of women
into the work place, and there were problems with sexual advances,
obscenities, verbal harassment, and "grabbing." Other men wondered whether
or not to be chivalrous. Some women, also confused by the new work setting
or simply taking advantage of the situation, tended to let the men handle
their heavier tasks. Initially, a problem arose when several former
prostitutes solicited among co-workers. Supervisors said that by the end of
1979, most of these problems had been corrected. Although the mill did not
have a grievance system, a number of men were fired for harrassing women;
several women were also fired for soliciting. For the most part, sexual
activity in 1979 was confined to infrequent voluntary relationships between
co-workers.

In the absence of any official policy of support for women in the mill,
supervisors handled each case of harassment on an individual basis. No
guidelines were ever developed to deal with harassment. Three female
engineers developed small group discussions in the plant where they worked
and reported that male laborers became so supportive of female co-workers as
a result that they often formed groups to help construct or repair the
women's houses on their days off. (Upper level management ordered these









-10-


groups disbanded in 1982.) The labor union was not deeply involved in the
issue because the board of directors was divided into a minority who wanted
to include women's problems harassmentn, double day, day care needs) in
union issues and a majority for whom women "only distract the men and cause
trouble at the mill."1'

By the end of 1981, the women's situation had become intolerable for
most. At the time I conducted Imy interviews, the labor union was finally
denouncing a campaign known as "Operation Mattress." Foremen at the plant,
backed up by an authority structure that requires all laborers to file
complaints through their immediate supervisor and by the plant policy to let
women go, used their position to demand sexual favors. "Operation Mattress"
meant that only women who slept with foremen would be allowed to keep their
jobs. This situation created intense tension. The 17 women and three male
plant supervisors interviewed that year mentioned sexual harassment by
foremen as a primary concern.18 Most were at a loss as to how to deal
with it. Female engineers attempted to set up support groups for female
laborers, but upper-level managers simply did not believe that such a
situation existed or would not face it directly. The female engineers were
threatened with the loss of their positions or with dead-ending if they did
not cease these "radical feminist" activities.

Mill management declared that "Operation Mattress" was a fabrication
promoted by the union and no action was taken to control the problem or to
set up a grievance mechanism for the women affected. The Head of Labor
Relations was the only member of upper management to show concern when the
topic arose during his interview. He considered placing an investigator
undercover to work as a laborer where she could verify the situation but no
action was taken.

Female engineers did not report sexual harassment as a problem.
Several mentioned that they had been approached, but in a very subtle way.
Male professionals did not make open demands; rather they phrased proposals
in joking terms or as "favors" to the women. Most female engineers claimed
to have sufficient social skills to fend off proposals without offending the
source.

Female engineers complained primarily that they were constantly passed
over for promotions in favor of less-qualified men. In fact, two women
reported having trained between them at least four men who took over jobs
that the women had filled temporarily. This meant that the men these women
had trained became their supervisors. When female engineers requested
explanations, they were most often told this was done for their own good or
because men, both other engineers and production laborers, would never
accept a female supervisor. It was not clear to the women whether they were
facing a mill policy or personal discrimination only. Some managers
actually said they personally would never allow a woman to be a manager.
The two women who had reached lower-level managerial positions by 1981 had
been turned down on numerous occasions for those same positions and were
only offered the jobs after lengthy job searches failed to produce









-11-


appropriate male candidates. Then, when offered the positions, both women
were told they would not be promoted further because they were women. In
fact, the job descriptions for their positions still specify as a minimum
requirement that the manager be a man.1I

One explanation offered by mill management for their general policy
against hiring women as laborers is the lack of adequate infrastructure for
men and women. The first problem was the lack of separate lockers or
bathroom facilities. Secondly, the medical program at the mill did not
include gynecology or family planning at the time of the study. Another
explanation was the belief that women would be uncomfortable in the presence
of men who acted unchivalrously, swore, or smelled unpleasant. Many
managers also believed women would be more adversely affected by heat and
noise at the plant than men, although no studies were carried out to test
that hypothesis. Female laborers counter that even when women are not
allowed to work as skilled labor or operatives near the furnaces, they
continue to be assigned janitorial tasks in the vicinity of the furnaces.
High levels of radiation in some areas were also used to exclude women,
since an undiagnosed pregnancy could be adversely affected. Finally,
managers and supervisors found that the initial higher productivity of women
quickly levelled off to that of men. When hiring women, managers considered
"risk factors" like pregnancy, possible role conflict, and the opposition of
male workers. They concluded the "costs" of female employment were not
justified when men could do the same work at the same level of productivity.

Characteristics of Discrimination

The problems faced by women in nontraditional occupations at the mill
and, to a lesser extent, at the specialty steel plant can be summarized
under the general concept of discrimination in its fullest sense. Both
laborers and engineers are labelled by co-workers and superiors first as
women and only second as laborers or engineers. The personality traits and
physical attibutes of their gender are often assumed by these male
co-workers and superiors to intervene in women's productivity. At the very
least, co-workers and superiors assume those traits and attributes play a
role in everyday tasks at the mill or plant.

Thus, the greatest obstacle faced by women is the personal
discrimination to which they are subjected by men; but the characteristics
of this discrimination differ among groups of men and are associated with
factors of class and age. The latter is, in part, an indicator of men's
relative experience with women; younger men have had more exposure to women
as fellow students and workmates. (The former is, in part, an educational
difference.) Women in Venezuela only entered engineering and other
nontraditional technical fields in significant numbers in the 1970s. Female
laborers were common only in traditional industries such as food processing
and textiles. In fact, until the mid-1970s, the national technical training
institute (INCE), did not allow women to participate in courses in
construction, automotive repair, or for operatives. In the few instances in
which individual women did gain entry, neither INCE's nor their individual
efforts could usually place them in an appropriate job.









-12-


Class differences are linked to the differential expression of machismo
(male dominance and sexual prowess) across classes and to the greater
freedom of expression allocated to "privileged" women. Not only is machismo
more frequently found in its extreme expression among laborers, but also the
professional/managerial classes have traditionally used higher education as
a means of setting apart "their" women from those of the working classes. A
higher class status gives the individual woman greater freedom to transgress
the boundaries of a general social norm and a woman's profession is a marker
of status which counterbalances the lower status of her gender.

In general, men of the professional classes less frequently see female
employment in nontraditional occupations as a "threat" to their masculinity
than do men of the working classes. This is also supported by the common
expressions of discrimination in these groups--paternalism among engineers
and sexual harassment among the laborers.

The interviews with female engineers, male managers, and male
supervisors (both groups also engineers in this setting) revealed that, in
general, professional men in both the mill and the specialty steel plant
projected their own stereotypes of women onto the women with whom they
worked. Interestingly, these stereotypes are also class-specific. That is,
men's greater familiarity with Iwomen of or near their own class (mother,
sister, wife, and, to a lesser extent, secretary) supported the application
of stereotypes to female engineers, but did not guarantee the imposition of
the same stereotype on working-class women.20

Male supervisors assumed working-class women were burdened with family
responsibilities. This led to a greater attention to their work habits and
potential absenteeism. Female laborers interviewed in 1981 protested that,
despite the fact male absenteeism was greater, supervisors tended to
routinely approve men's requests for time off at the same time they denied
or questioned women's. In fact, although most female laborers interviewed
by Fritcher indicated their own poor health and family problems were the
major cause of absenteeism, these factors did not show up in the official
reasons they gave to their supervisors. The female laborers interviewed in
1981 explained they were careful to hide the true causes of absenteeism
because they could not risk reinforcing the belief that a woman's family
responsibilities! interfere with her work role or that the female
constitution is not adequate for the labor required or the environment of
the mill. Yet, no matter what excuse the women gave, supervisors still
attributed absences to family problems or menstrual cycles. In fact, one
supervisor at the mill indicated he kept charts on his female personnel
according to past absences and that he always "knew" when specific women
were menstruating and adjusted their work schedule and tasks accordingly
although no women requested special treatment or confirmed his assumption.

This attention to family matters in the case of female laborers also
extended to female engineers. Absences of women with children were
generally attributed to family problems even when other reasons were given.
One recently divorced engineer reported that she came down with the flu









-13-


shortly after she and her husband separated. Although she provided a
doctor's excuse and was careful to assure that her absence not be attributed
to the separation, she found out most of her colleagues and superiors
continued to believe that she had taken time off to dedicate to her young
son. Female engineers complained on numerous occasions that, like female
laborers, their requests for absences received treatment different from that
accorded to men's requests. "If a man asks for time off to take his wife to
the doctor, everyone thinks that's admirable. But if I ask for time off to
take my son to the doctor, that's touted as proof that family
responsibilities and engineering don't mix."

The attention accorded to female engineers' family situations by male
colleagues appeared to differ from that of laborers in at least one
important respect. Engineers reported that male colleagues and superiors
were more concerned about husbands or partners than about children. Because
professionals, especially engineers, make up a closely-organized pressure
group in the state industries, most couples knew each other personally.
Female engineers who had been or were married at the time of the interview
indicated that their superiors repeatedly expressed a concern that the
husband would be upset if the wife were assigned to work overtime As one
engineer expressed it, "My husband was never annoyed if I had to work late,
but my boss was. He wouldn't like for his wife to be out at night, so he
assumed my husband should feel the same."21 In general, women said they
felt that their male superiors had more respect for the personal feelings
and interests of husbands and boyfriends than for those of their female
colleagues. Another divorced engineer said she had been repeatedly denied a
promotion while she was married and was only given it after she divorced.
Her superiors admitted to her that her single parenthood did not present an
obstacle for the promotion, but her status of wife had; they felt the
additional responsibility attached to the promotion would put a strain on
her marriage.

Although female engineers indicated that discrimination on the part of
males was the greatest, if not the only, problem they faced at the mill,
most agreed that this discrimination was not "malicious"--a fact that made
it more difficult to deal with without confusing or causing hard feelings
among paternalistic males. Experiences were so similar that exchanges
reported between men and women were almost standard. For instance, when
women complained about being left out of important projects or not assigned
overtime, superiors usually responded with "I didn't know you wanted to work
like a man." Women reported that males simply did not comprehend their
insistence that they wanted to be treated like any capable engineer. For
most men, especially older engineers with little prior experience with women
as colleagues, these women are women first and engineers second. Yet the
women view themselves first as engineers and only secondly as women.
Younger male engineers were better able to accept women as colleagues
because they had, studied with them, participated in political movements
together, received their support during conflicts with a superior, and
generally had more experience with women as equals.









-14-


Over time, however, the favoritism accorded young male engineers by
older colleagues has served to alienate the sexes. Women reported
decreasing levels' of support and comradeship precisely at a time when
production cutbacks were leading to increased competition for scarce
promotions. Men with less seniority were promoted over more experienced
and, in the words of several engineers, "more intelligent and outstanding"
women.

The experience of the two women in managerial positions shed light on
the subtleties and frustrations faced by most female engineers. One manager
left the mill shortly after her interview. Although she left primarily
because of differences between her administrative style and that of a new
superior, she said her exit was probably hastened by the lack of support for
women from colleagues and the constant pressure she was under to "prove
herself" because she was female. The second manager had sought her position
for over a year and had even filled the job temporarily during the job
search. After no appropriate male candidate could be found, her superiors
indicated she was given the job "in spite of her gender and against their
will." Yet she reported no difficulties on the job. Her reply is typical
of the work style described by women in production:

I've had to change my personality some, to be more authoritarian.
But it hasn't been difficult. The problems my bosses thought
would arise, haven't. If a laborer undresses, I act like I
haven't seen. If they swear and yell, I don't pay attention. In
fact, the foremen tell me the workers don't pay enough attention
to them, that they prefer to deal directly with me ... because I
treat them with more respect. My main problem has been to
convince my superiors that I don't have the problems they think I
should have.

Unlike engineers, female laborers did perceive "malice" in the
discriminatory treatment they received. One example involved the difficulty
they faced for promotions. In 1979, when the mill 'management showed
interest in evaluating female performance and when attention was directed
toward women, female laborers hired in that year received proportionately
more promotions than did males hired the same year. Women, however, started
out lower on the job ladder and entered with a higher average educational
level than did men. Both factors would have predicted a rapid reassessment
of their potential. In 1981, when mill management was interested in letting
women go, the backgrounds and experiences of the 17 women interviewed did
not match promotion patterns. The two women with prior experience in other
industries, including one woman who had supervised over twenty workers at a
textile mill, remained in the same positions at the same base salary with
which they had been hired almost two years before.22 The three women who
had risen most rapidly in salary and position were not among those with the
greatest training or real work experience in the mill. In fact, the woman
with the greatest advancement had taken two pregnancy leaves (a total of
eight months) in two years. These three women were those pointed out by
co-workers and a male supervisor as maintaining sexual relationships with


I I









-15-


foremen from the production area. In this particular area, promotions of
laborers were determined by foremen.

Discrimination also influenced male evaluations of the performance of
both laborers and engineers. Women complained of having to constantly prove
themselves while male abilities went unchallenged. Male supervisors and
managers at both the mill and the specialty plant indicated they did pay
more attention to the performance of female laborers and engineers. The men
interviewed agreed the added attention to women was "unfair" but
"unavoidable" because of the novelty of women in steel plus their fewer
numbers. They attracted attention. At the same time, younger male
engineers in Ciudad Guayana expressed resentment at the greater attention
accorded women, claiming it was a benefit. They did not understand the
women's position that this attention increased job stress. Women also did
not understand the men's position that attention favored women.

Women reported that men tended to generalize the negative performance of
an individual woman to all women while the failure of an individual male was
not generalized to all men. This was confirmed by male managers and applied
to both engineers and laborers. The same was not true for positive
performance. Women reported this also contributed to job stress. Both
engineers and laborers spoke of being forced to assume a role as
"representative" of all women. "If I make a mistake, it's not just my
mistake. It- proves women are unfit for [this type of work]." When
confronted by men's comments that "women don't work out"; these women
attempted to use their own positive performance to disprove the statement.
Yet, consistently, male superiors and co-workers responded that the
individual woman was "an exception." This interaction was reported by all
twenty-five engineers and by more than half the laborers.23

Direct personal discrimination is not the only type of discrimination
faced by women, but it is the most serious and, through the inclusion of
gender requirements in job profiles, has become institutionalized. Other
discriminatory factors are structural and include infrastructural
limitations, legal limitations and the content of training programs.

A variety of infrastructural limitations were identified; these affected
laborers more than engineers. Protective helmets and boots, required for
all workers in production areas, originally came only in large sizes. The
mill had to order specially-made equipment for women. Placement of seats
and handles on imported plant vehicles and machinery was designed for larger
torsos and longer arms than is typical of most women--and many Venezuelan
men for that matter. The shape of spiral staircases for reaching crane
cabins made their use by pregnant women difficult. Most complaints,
however, focused on the lack of separate facilities for men and women.
Temporary restrictions had to be imposed by management to provide lockers
and bathrooms for women. The cost of constructing additional facilities was
cited as an important factor which discouraged the continued employment of
women.









-16-


Venezuela's Labor Law includes specific provisions designed to "protect"
women. On the one hand, laws designed to exclude women from "physically and
morally" dangerous work, mining,, or night work are used to restrict hiring
of women in industries, especially those with three daily shifts. Equal pay
for equal work clauses, combined with generous pregnancy leave stipulations
(at full pay),i contribute 'to: a situation in which female labor is
potentially more costly than male labor. In fact, if a woman were to give
birth at the end of one work year, she could theoretically take off as many
as eight consecutive months from work by combining holidays and vacations
for that and the following year with her pregnancy leave. During her
absences, her employer would have to find a replacement, yet would be
obliged to hire her back at the end of her leave.

The same protective legislation used against women includes clauses that
could truly help working women. These include equal pay for equal work and
requirements for! child care centers in all companies employing more than
thirty women. Nevertheless, few companies, private or public, comply with
child care rules and only public agencies guarantee equal pay for equal
work. Female laborers, the group most burdened by the "double day,"
consistently say that on-the-job child care at the mill is their number one
need.

Content analysis of training programs offered by the national technical
training institute and the state-owned industries of Guayana showed that
most courses implicitly "assume" the person taking the course has a basic
knowledge of mechanics upon entry. This imposes a handicap on those who do
not have this background and often leads to incomplete preparation which
affects job performance; this affects more women than men. Performance is
then used to argue against hiring women. An example of this occurred with a
special program designed to prepare women as crane operators at the mill.
Male engineers complained to superiors that women did not work out because
they did not remember to oil the cranes. An enterprising female engineer
investigated and found that the course for operators did not include oiling
of cranes. For men of the Venezuelan working class, familiarity with
machinery was usually a basic part of the childhood socialization
experience. They assumed maintenance of the crane as a part of their job,
while women did not. Interestingly enough, such problems did not occur at
the specialty plant since the courses taken by welders and precision cutters
had been especially designed for women and did not assume this basic
knowledge of mechanics.

Worker Behavior

In her prize-winning study of a large corporation, Kanter identified
three factors as predictors of worker behavior: opportunity, power and
numbers (1977:245-249). Corporate structure (and, it should be added,
corporate infrastructure) combine with social roles to create situations
within which specific worker behavior develops. The preceding analysis
described aspects of the behavior of males favored by greater opportunity,
power, and numbers and women's response to male discrimination.









-17-


Deaux and Ullman (1983:115-126) studied two steel mills in the United
States where they found patterns of lower absenteeism and turnover rates for
females, discrimination by males and job concentrations similar to those
described for Ciudad Guayana's heavy industry. They identified a tendency
for both men and women to externalize blame for women's ostensibly poor
performance at the mills. Men blamed women themselves and women blamed men
and the structure of on-the-job relations. Most importantly, the Deaux and
Ullman study confirmed cultural and age differences both in the distribution
of women across occupations (e.g., Hispanic women tended to concentrate in
janitorial positions) and in the coping strategies developed by women to
deal with their situation. The following analysis focuses on women's
responses to their situation and the factors that contribute to differential
behavior. These include both the structural factors suggested by Kanter and
the class and age factors suggested by Deaux and Ullman.

The harassment of women by male co-workers between 1974 and 1980 at the
mill and the specialty steel plant was an expression of machismo on the part
of working-class males. Machismo in this setting was an attempt to reaffirm
male dominance and "put women in their place" when they invaded male
territory. The female laborers and male supervisors interviewed in 1981
expressed a clear understanding of this early situation. Sexual harassment
by foremen at the mill in 1981 was, however, different. It represented the
extreme abuse of power by males--the victimization of women. This recent
type of harassment was made possible by the structure of authority at the
mill and the withdrawal of mill support for the employment of women.

Although female laborers did not have much real power and security
initially, withdrawal of at least nominal attention and interest in their
performance left them in a totally powerless position relative to men, thus,
encouraging harassment. And, though engineers did not suffer from sexual
harassment, the contraction of professional employment in the post-boom
period also weakened their position. They reported increasing levels of
tension and feelings of insecurity and isolation between 1979 and 1981.

Reactions to stress and to the unsought role of "representative" of all
women were varied with some important class differences. For one, engineers
had more freedom of choice than laborers. As heads of households, laborers
had to work and nowhere in Ciudad Guayana would they earn a salary as high
as they could in the mill. Engineers had greater options for employment and
were less likely to be the sole support of a family. This permitted
freedoms such as changing jobs or taking risks through direct confrontation.

In general, women of the working class, the laborers, accepted the
legitimacy of discrimination against women. But they objected to the
content or form of the discrimination to which they themselves were
subjected. Working class women believed women to be physically inferior to
men but morally superior. Many reported placing a high value on chivalry
which they considered an expression of respect for their social roles of
wife and mother, the reaffirmation of their "femininity." Working class
women objected to the use of profanity, and they complained about









-18-


supervisors' rudeness in dealing with them. Only one mentioned that
rudeness was generalized to dealings with all laborers, not just women.

Most women also said they wanted to earn acceptance and respect as
laborers. Several expressed a belief that their success at stereotypically-
male tasks heightened their self esteem and encouraged a revision of their
own beliefs regarding female capabilities. In no case did this revision
erradicate the underlying acceptance of physical inferiority; it merely
contributed to a narrowing of the assumed difference.

Female engineers, on the other hand, rejected the notion that they were
in any way inferior to men. They admitted to individual differences in
capacity and intellect, not to group differences. In fact, many female
engineers were. of the opinion that social norms encouraged selectivity
factors among female engineers that contributed to the intelligence and
ability of the average female engineer being greater than those of the
average male engineer. As a result, discrimination was even more difficult
to accept and led to expressions of anger and bitterness. Chivalry was not
generally valued by female engineers, and they used profanity on the job and
off.

In general, both engineers and laborers attempted to deflect
discrimination through comradeship. Female laborers at first emphasized job
performance and productivity as a means of assuring acceptance from
supervisors. In the eight ofi the hostility this generated among male
co-workers, laborers opted to shift emphasis to the adoption of male work
rhythms and productivity levels. Although this solved their daily clashes
with co-workers,i it weakened their position with supervisors. Neither
strategy deterred the sexual harassment imposed by foremen.

Female engineers, on the other hand, did not sacrifice work style or
productivity for comradeship. They continued to be very competitive as
engineers. Most used participation in professional organizations and
political activities to consciously break down male co-workers' resistance.
When male engineers at the same levels faced difficulties with superiors,
women often offered their public alliance. In this way, they "chalked up
points" which they did not hesitate to use later.

Small groups of females opted for different strategies. Among laborers,
several women gave in to pressures and sought the protection of foremen
through sexual favors. Some sought to "flee" harassment by requesting
transfers to other plants. Two reported directly confronting harassment
and were pointed out by supervisors as "troublemakers." Despite these
differences, most indicated suffering from stress-related illnesses and
living "on the edge"--holding on as long as possible, but always in fear of
losing their jobs.

Among female engineers, five women were pointed out by other engineers
as "queen bees." They stressed their femininity through exaggerated
feminine dress, makeup, and gestures. In the opinion of their more militant









-19-


counterparts, they "played up to" or deferred to male managers and accepted
being channeled into auxiliary roles. In this way, each had formed an
alliance with a paternalistic male. As he moved up the managerial ladder,
she moved up with him. By accepting a supportive role, they were guaranteed
a measure of security without the stress reported by more militant engineers.

At the same time, only militant engineers made efforts to promote the
employment of other women or defended the interests of women as a group.
But their efforts to "raise men's consciousness" often provoked hostility.
In the case of four female engineers, their militancy elicited an accusation
of lesbianism which successfully curbed their activities. For most,
militancy provoked a more subtle questioning of their "femininity" or
emotional stability. Many engineers interviewed late in 1982 indicated
increasing their use of frilly blouses and makeup to circumvent hostility or
feign deference. In several of those cases, managers had specifically
ordered women to cease talking about women's issues or risk dismissal for
introducing "political activities" into their on-the-job interactions.
Women said that "feminine trappings" were a small price to pay to deter
accusations and reduce hostility.

What is important about these experiences is that each woman had to deal
with discrimination on an individual basis, whether her strategy was
"femininity," feigning deference, seeking comradeship, pursuing intellectual
discussions, or an increasing efforts to prove her capabilities. The women
often attempted to use their own competence as an example to break down
discriminatory attitudes, but found this did not work. Each woman, laborer
or engineer, was able to find some individual solution (with varying degrees
of satisfaction) to a shared problem, but men continued to tell each woman
that she was the exception. This was particularly true of the interaction
between male and female engineers with one important distinction. Women
indicated slightly more success in swaying co-workers, especially when these
co-workers had occasion to study or work with several female engineers.
There was, however, less success with managers who tended to be older and
have less experience working with women; managers also did not participate
as frequently in professional organizations and political movements because
these were often at odds with managerial policy.23 This further limited
opportunities to interact with women as equals.

Age was not as important a factor in Ciudad Guayana as it was in the
Deaux and Ullman study in the United States. There were a few age
differences in the strategies noted among the female engineers. Older
engineers tended to opt for "feminine" strategies, while younger women
tended to be more militant. Following increased pressure from management in
1981 and 1982 and the cutbacks in production which led to fewer promotional
opportunities, however, several previously militant engineers opted to start
families and to increase the relative importance of their personal lives to
their careers.2

Some strategy differences among female engineers may also be associated
with class differences. Older female engineers tended to come from









-20-


professional class families while a majority of the younger engineers came
from working class backgrounds. The fact they had often faced family
opposition and struggled with financial hardship during their studies
indicates personality traits that could contribute to differences in coping
styles. No such differences were noted among laborers. Most of the
laborers were over thirty-five, but older women were as likely as younger
women to be harassed and to report stress.

Finally, for both engineers :and laborers the issue of numbers may have
played a role in strategy choices. Older female engineers were relatively
isolated throughout their careers and did not have other women as models or
to provide mutual support. Younger engineers did have models (even when
they did not agree with their coping strategies) and they initiated careers
when national and international: attention focused on and supported their
career moves. Younger women, therefore, had been exposed to a greater range
of possible strategies and both real and theoretical models than had the
older women. Older women i also indicated more traditional attitudes
regarding male and female stereotypes than did younger engineers. The same
held true for male engineers.

In the case of laborers in both the mill and the specialty steel plant,
greater numbers of women on the job contributed to lower levels of
harassment and weaker male resistance to women. Harrassment and hostility
were greater for isolated women, and isolation weakened their efforts to
maintain non-traditional jobs. i One woman at the specialty steel plant
indicated that the level of harassment from co-workers was inversely
proportional to the number of women working in a section. As women quit or
were transferred, hostility had increased and had become unbearable when she
was the sole remaining woman.

This study suggests that some factors that lead to sex discrimination,
especially structural factors, may create similar dilemmas for men and women
across cultures. But thd behavior of men and women in the face of those
dilemmas differs !in content and degree according to cultural factors such as
norms and roles, and to factors of age and class. This is important to the
development or implementation of corrective programs designed to increase
productivity and to overcome discrimination as a factor adversely affecting
productivity in a particular organization or culture.









-21-


NOTES

1. In Venezuela, women are traditionally concentrated in five female
professions: teaching; social work; social science; nursing; and
pharmacy. Women are also about half of all doctors and lawyers.

2. Over half of all children are born out of wedlock and are never
recognized by their fathers or supported by them.

3. Data taken from the semesterly household surveys of the Corporacion
Venezolana de Guayana (Guayana Development Corporation).

4. About one sixth of the urban labor force in Ciudad Guayana is employed
in the steel industry.

5. Given the distribution of marital status by age in the city, single
women are concentrated at the two age extremes. They are either elderly
or under 20.

6. Precision cutters calculate sizes and cut steel pieces with light
machinery.

7. Night work is prohibited by law and requires a special dispensation from
the Ministry of Labor at the joint request of employer and .female
employee.

8. A typical tactic was to grab women and use obscenities when they entered
the company bus for the ride to and from work. Another was to leave
obscene messages on or around the lockers.

9. In the absence of concrete evidence, management transferred the
supervisor to a section with no women.

10. Data provided by the Personnel Department and CVG household surveys.

11. The shortage was a direct result of rapid industrialization in the 1970s.

12. Mill policy established training requirements or minimal educational
levels (usually high school) for women. This was not true for men.

13. Data provided by the Personnel Department.

14. The two major professional organizations in the area are the Colegio de
Ingenieros and APSA, Association of Professionals at the Steel Mill.

15. Male engineers confided this information following a briefing by
managers.









-22-


16. Yet, the mill has no data on the numbers or proportions of laborers who
actually got pregnant.

17. The president of the union made this comment during an interview with a
feminist reporter. But under his direction, the union made serious
attempts to introduce protective clauses for women into the new labor
contract. The clauses were stricken when the union was "intervened" by
the authorities and its directorate ousted for political expediency and
at the request of mill management.

18. In each plant, the structure of authority rises from laborer to foreman,
supervisor, lower-level manager (by section), middle-level manager
(department), and upper-level manager (plant or central departments .

19. These job descriptions are prepared for all positions by the supervisor
or manager immediately above the position to be filled and at his
discretion.

20. Kanter (1977) also found that men projected their experience with female
family members and secretaries on their interaction with women at work.

21. Several women mentioned informally that men act like they are "all in
the same club" and look out for each others interests, even if these
interfere with male-female work relationships.

22. It should be noted that one of these women had filed a harassment
complaint against a former foreman.

23. Not all laborers indicated the same level of consciousness regarding
discrimination. The three who were pointed out as having engaged in
sexual relationships with foremen denied the existence of sexual
harassment and declared not ever coming into contact with
discrimination.

24. Since 1979, every elected Board of Directors at the Colegio of
Ingenieros has included one or more women. In 1981, APSA elected its
first woman as president.

25. Kanter indicates that individuals who are dead-ended or in unstimulating
jobs with little hope of escape tend to emphasize interpersonal
relations and become more family or recreation-oriented. Three of the
women in this study decided;to become single mothers and discussed this
with their superiors. All three received support and the guarantee of
continued employment during and following pregnancy.









-23-


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Direccion General de Planificacion Sectorial.
1982 Plan Nacional de Empleo. "Evolucion reciente de la economic y
generation de empleos." Document No. 3. Caracas: Cordiplan.

Deaux, Kay and Joseph C. Ullman
1983 Women of Steel: Female Blue-Collar Workers in the Basic Steel
Industry. New York: Praeger.

Kanter, Rosabeth Moss
1977 Men and Women of the Corporation. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Rakowski, Cathy
1984 The Division of Labor by Sector and by Sex in a Developing
Economy: The Case of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. Dissertation
presented to the University of Texas at Austin.

1984 "El comportamiento de la mano de obra masculina y femenina en
Ciudad Guayana con enfoque especual en el mas reciente period de
boom (1975-79) y post-boom (1980-82)." Report prepared for the
Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana, Planning Division, August.

Valecillos, Hector
1982 "Evolucion historic, situation actual y perspectives del trabajo
de la mujer en Venezuela. Paper presented at the First Meeting on
Female Labor and Productivity, Caracas, February.





PUBLICATIONS

OFFICE OF WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY


The WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PUBLICATION SERIES were founded in
1981 to disseminate information rapidly to national and international
specialists in universities, government, and private institutions concerned
with development issues affecting women. The two series, WORKING PAPERS ON
WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT and the WID FORUM, publish reports of
empirical studies and projects, theoretical analyses, and policy discussions
that illuminate the processes of change in the broadest sense and encourage
manuscripts that bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice.
Publications in the series address women's historical and changing
participation in economic, political, and religious spheres, intra- and
inter-family role relationships, gender identity, women's health and health
care, and the sexual division of labor.
EDITOR: Rita S. Gallin

MANAGING EDITOR: Pat Hubbard-Garcia

EDITORIAL ASSOCIATE: Patricia Whittier
EDITORIAL BOARD: Marilyn Aronoff, Sociology; Anne Ferguson, Anthro-
pology; Ada Finifter, Political Science; Peter
Gladhart, Family & Child Ecology; John Hinnant, Anthro-
pology; Susan Irwin, Anthropology; Akbar Mahdi, Soci-
ology; Anne Meyering, History; Ann Millard, Anthro-
pology; Nalini Malhotra Quraeshi, Sociology; Barbara
Rylko-Bauer, Anthropology; Judith Stallmann, Agri-
cultural Economics; Paul Strassmann, Economics

NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS: To provide an opportunity for the work of those
concerned with development issues affecting women to be critiqued and refined,
all manuscripts submitted to the series are peer-reviewed. The review process
averages two months and accepted manuscripts are published within five to six
weeks. Authors receive ten free copies, retain copyrights to their works, and
are encouraged to submit them to the journal of their choice.

Manuscripts submitted should be double-spaced, sent in duplicate, and
include the following: (1) title page bearing the name, address and
institutional affiliation of the author; (2) one-paragraph abstract; (3) text;
(4) notes; (5) references cited; and (6) tables and figures. The format of
the article may follow any journal of the author's choice. Submit manuscripts
to Rita Gallin, Editor, WID Publication Series, Office of WID, 202
International Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1035.

TO ORDER PUBLICATIONS: Publications are available at a nominal cost and
cost-equivalent exchange relationships are encouraged. To order publications
or receive a listing of them, write to Office of WID, 202 International
Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1035, USA.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The Women in International Development Publication Series are
partially funded by a Title XII Strengthening Grant.

MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs