Steven's Reviews > Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy

Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich
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's review
Sep 18, 2008

it was ok
Recommended to Steven by: professor
Recommended for: teachers,activists

This book could be an attempt to expand Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickled and Dimed with a feminist angle. Instead, it is a collection of vaguely redundant essays that collectively numb the reader rather than stir them to action.

The essays - each by a different author, mind you - cover - as the title implies - women in the global economy. Specifically, women who have become migrant nannies, maids, and sex workers. There is a lot of moving, powerful, and astounding information in this book - human rights lawyers in the US keeping immigrant housekeepers in near-slavery, child sex workers, nannies forced to love another's children while thier own grow up far away and out of touch. Any *one* of these essays is a powerful and moving message of awareness.

Unfortunately, these essays are all stand-alone works. Combining them in one set of covers - the cynical part of me thinks that it is to gain prestige from Ms. Ehrenreich's name - dulls the effect of any one of them. Because they are standalone essays, each spends a good portion of time covering the same material. While each essay does have its own point of view, the redundancy of much of the material made it difficult to read this as a coherent text.

Further, there is little suggestion or option for the reader to take action. Awareness is good - but unless it leads to action, it leaves the reader merely depressed.

Its shortcomings are significant, but there is so much important information here that it makes it worth finding other ways to make the book useful. For example, this book would be excellent for a classroom assignment: split the class so that each student (or group) reads an essay and reports on it over the course of a quarter or semester. That way each student is not numbed, but still gets the different angles through other student's presentation.


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