The supply of cheap unskilled labour, once seemingly limitless, has started to dry up. Factory bosses are now all but begging their female workers to remain. At the same time the women who have migrated to the factory towns have become better-educated and more aware of their rights. In labour-intensive factories, stereotypes of female passivity are beginning to break down.
Over the past three decades the migration of tens of millions of women from the countryside to factories in Guangdong and other coastal provinces has helped to transform the worldview of an especially downtrodden sector of Chinese society (the suicide rate among rural women is far higher than for rural men). Conditions in the factories have often been harsh"”poor safety, illegally long working hours, cramped accommodation, few breaks and little leave"”but for many it has also been liberating and empowering, both personally and financially.
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Keywords: Chinese manufacturing jobs, Chinese women in manufacturing, worker safety in China, employment in Chinese manufacturing
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