Women workers in the maquiladoras and the debate on global labor standards

Edmé Domínguez*, Rosalba Icaza, Cirila Quintero, Silvia López, Åsa Stenman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper represents a collective contribution to an ongoing debate on the benefits and disadvantages of export-based, industrial jobs for women as well as on the implications of global labor standards on these types of jobs. On the basis of extensive research on women in Mexico's and Central America's maquiladoras (assembly plants that produce export goods), this paper aims to problematize the viewpoints that present export-based, industrial jobs as dignified alternatives for women in the South and to question the skepticism about global labor standards as a possible alternative for improving work conditions in all sectors producing for export. In so doing, the paper stresses three interrelated issues: a) the relevance of local and regional contexts that inform diverse industrialization paths over time, b) the agency the women workers represent, and c) the legal instruments already existent in our common efforts to improve working conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-209
Number of pages25
JournalFeminist Economics
Issue number4
Early online date22 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are very grateful to the associate editor and the reviewers for their enormous help in producing the final version of this article. It has been a long process but a fruitful one. We are also grateful for financial support from the Institute of Iberoamerican Studies (research-environment support) in order to revise the final version of this manuscript.

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