Working Women into the Borderlands

978-1-62349-040-9 Cloth (Unjacketed)
6 x 9. 256 pp. 5 b&w photos. Map. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 02/18/2014
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2015 Liz Carpenter Award, sponsored by Texas State Historical Association 2014 Sara A. Whaley Book Prize, sponsored by the National Women's Studies Association 2014 Jim Parish Book Award for Documentation of Local and Regional History, sponsored by the Webb County Heritage Foundation
In Working Women into the Borderlands, author Sonia Hernández sheds light on how women’s labor was shaped by US capital in the northeast region of Mexico and how women’s labor activism simultaneously shaped the nature of foreign investment and relations between Mexicans and Americans. As capital investments fueled the growth of heavy industries in cities and ports such as Monterrey and Tampico, women’s work complemented and strengthened their male counterparts’ labor in industries which were historically male-dominated.

As Hernández reveals, women laborers were expected to maintain their “proper” place in society, and work environments were in fact gendered and class-based. Yet, these prescribed notions of class and gender were frequently challenged as women sought to improve their livelihoods by using everyday forms of negotiation including collective organizing, labor arbitration boards, letter writing, creating unions, assuming positions of confianza (“trustworthiness”), and by migrating to urban centers and/or crossing into Texas.

Drawing extensively on bi-national archival sources, newspapers, and published records, Working Women into the Borderlands demonstrates convincingly how women’s labor contributions shaped the development of one of the most dynamic and contentious borderlands in the globe.

Connecting the Greater West Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press