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The results of the study raise questions on a number of issues of crucial concern for planners and policy-makers in developing countries. They have implications for employment and technology policies, for income distribution, training projects, and family-planning programmes, and for demographic forecasting in relation to the industrial workforce. They also raise questions about methods of developing labour statistics and data on low-income groups. The special emphasis on women's issues in this study provided a useful perspective from which to consider these points.
It is clearly essential to raise the awareness of policy-makers to the impact of new technologies on the number, distribution, and content of jobs and the quality of work and life among different occupational categories. The study shows the need to devote greater attention to devising instruments to monitor the effects of new technologies on the employment of low-level industrial workers. The establishment of unemployment funds for selected categories of industrial workers and the provision of subsidies to industries operating with labour-stability clauses, negotiated agreements with labour unions on patterns of recruitment and wages, including those for part-time and shift workers, and a thorough examination of the effects on both genders should be integrated components of programmes of technological change.
Moreover, as the study shows, there arc important gender differences in the effects on unemployment and labour deployment of technological renewal and policies which seek to rationalize cost structures by the use of cheap labour. New industrialization strategies in developing countries should involve the establishment of local monitoring bodies like the Equal Opportunities Commission in the United Kingdom to ensure equitable treatment and conditions for men and women.
While there is a growing awareness of the need for national investment in new technologies in order to develop comparative advantages in an increasingly internationalized trading system, their impact on employment is not necessarily taken into account in macro-level discussions or policy proposals. The national workforce is sometimes considered only as a source of cheap labour to enhance advantages in international markets or import-substitution policies as part of broad stabilization programmes. The results of the study shed light on how the everyday lives of working people are affected by incremental technological change. By analogy, they illustrate the type of short- and long-term consequences for employment, unemployment, and income distribution which can follow the introduction of new technologies in other low-income groups and other countries. As the pace of radical technological change quickens, it becomes imperative to increase national sensitivity to its broad socioeconomic implications.
The study also delineates the types of household arrangements low-income populations set up for economic survival. Many of them depend on several members of the domestic group working for wages, but the burdens of this strategy may fall very heavily on women, who must then carry the double workload of remunerated and family work, and children, especially boys, who have to enter the workforce very early. This suggests an urgent need for policy-makers to formulate more realistic pay structures and fixed national minimum wages, based on a reappraisal of the costing components by which many wages are calculated and accompanied by closer monitoring of actual industrial practice. Programmes to supply a free or subsidized "basic needs basket" to needy populations have been satisfactorily implemented during crisis periods in some developing countries; indeed, some low-income or unemployed groups in Argentina have been supported in this way since 1985. This type of alternative policy instrument could be more closely studied. Variations of it could be and applied in periods of industrial stagnation or economic difficulty, whether local or consequent on international strategies.
The research generated valuable material on demographic trends and family planning. In the 1960s, policies encouraged slowing population growth as a means of limiting poverty and raising standards of living. However, the study shows that having children in the labour market was sometimes crucial to the survival of low-income households. Government family-planning policies should then be integrated with programmes to ameliorate material conditions in poor households.
Family-planning programmes need to include persuasive campaigns to motivate and train both genders so that they share responsibility and decisions on birth control. Firm managers, factory doctors, and trade union representatives should also be the target of programmes to raise sensitivity and awareness of family-planning issues. This should diminish both the coercive practices and attitudes reflected in the high correlation found between caesarean births and female sterilization in Brazil, and the widespread loss of industrial jobs due to pregnancy. There appeared to be little real knowledge about the risk of contraceptive pills, the most widespread method of birth control in both countries, in either of the populations studied. The findings suggest that abortion, although illegal, is quite common. There is an obvious need to monitor birth-control measures and biased family-planning programmes.
Moreover, the workers' access to national family-planning programmes was shown to be inadequate or unsatisfactory. Traditional gender-stereotyped attitudes towards both birth control and housework, and biased perceptions of the importance of women's work and wages, continued to exert a powerful influence on behaviour. Low-income groups' distrust of government initiatives was apparent. Policy-makers could utilize existing community-based organizations to lead family-planning education and raise consciousness on related issues. Channelling national funds through such local groups could also be more cost-effective.
Relevant labour statistics are fundamental to the policy innovations suggested. Heightened awareness of the problems indicated should encourage policy-makers to seek ways of collecting statistical information that will allow these issues to be studied and addressed. At present much of the information available is collected and classified in such a way that the identification and/or definition of certain specific labour and household problems is difficult. The political will to insist on better statistical approaches and methods could hasten the solution of the technical problems which now inhibit progress in this field.
In times of rapid technical change and household poverty, it is crucial to have overall figures disaggregated by gender and age as well as by location. Information should be collected not only by sector or branch of industry, but by occupation within them, in far more detail than it is now. A closer matching of the information gathered in national industrial and employment censuses on the one hand, and population and household censuses and surveys on the other, would be beneficial. The study suggests a number of important fields where the aggregate data are now insufficient, unavailable, or mismatched. For example, household data by income level do not usually include type of occupation per age and gender of the head and other members of the household. This complicates the relating of data on living standards to information on wages and employment in various industrial sectors, which constrains the possibility of forecasting changes that might result from alternative industrialization or economic policies.
The findings show the advantages of analysing the behaviour of men and women comparatively, especially when both genders are in the same type of employment. This approach helps us to discover which patterns are general to a certain category of workers and which are specifically gender-related. This has been one of the major gaps in previous research on women's issues, especially in Latin America. The lack of data on income allocation among different groups and of comparative studies within and between developing countries which take gender and age differences in account, and the dearth of studies exploring these differences within households, continue to inhibit the recognition of problems and effective means of addressing them. Comparative life-history studies of men and women of different generations within a particular group can be a valuable source of the kind of data needed, as well as providing useful pointers to areas needing further research.
Such studies require innovative methodologies for gathering data, including the establishing of appropriate relations between the interviewees and the interviewers, especially when exploring sensitive and private topics. In the course of this research, the interviewers encountered a high level of refusal to participate in the quantitative studies, but more positive attitudes towards the qualitative component. This is consistent with the well-founded fears and suspicions of people who have long been subjected to economic, social, political, and gender repression and/or manipulation. Both the quantitative and the qualitative surveys are necessary and it is therefore important to remember that the time taken to establish confidence and trust is necessary to obtain valid information and to allow the research to become an opportunity for mutual learning.
Quantitative and qualitative analyses based on life-history data provide valid measures of the way individual behaviour influences work in the public sphere and vice versa. This approach and women's studies can clarify the way in which individuals and households respond and relate to macro-level events and so offer important insights and perspectives on national problems and development. However, to relegate women's studies to a secondary area that only deals with problems thought to be specific to them is to overlook an important research opportunity, especially as women may be a crucial source of labour for future industrialization policies as well as the mainstay of the households which sustain and influence the effects of these policies.
Investigating the inter-relationship between waged work and the household throws light on patterns of gender subordination and the need for their renegotiations. Gender roles in society will remain relatively unchanged without a transformation of power relations in the household. The theory that more equal contributions to household income will lead to more equitable distribution of power within them turns out to be too simplistic. It is necessary to look at ways in which authority is associated with the use and distribution of income and other social resources and services through which power is negotiated. Women's actual behaviour and their perception of themselves were modified by their domestic setting. The contradiction between practice and perception documented in both Brazil and Argentina shows the need to differentiate between them in research and to consider both when designing consciousness-raising programmes.
Finally, the comparison of different age-cohorts allows for prospective fore casting. The seeds of new behaviour were discernible in the younger generations: it is they who will construct the future.
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