‘Marriage’ to capital: the fallback positions of Fiji’s women garment workers
The May 2000 coup in Fiji prompted a flight of capital from the country’s garment industry. As workers lost their jobs, attention turned away from improving wages and conditions to retaining garment factory jobs in the country. What can feminist researchers contribute in a climate of high capital mobility that prohibits organising for a living wage? This paper applies Amartya Sen’s idea of women’s ‘fallback positions’ in relation to their husbands to an exploration of women’s ‘marriage’ to capital. An exploration of the lives of women garment factory workers beyond the workplace reveals the potential to enhance women’s negotiating power in relation to their employers – by boosting women’s individual and collective assets and their access to support from state and NGOs, to other income-earning means, and to social support systems upon which to call for assistance.
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