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Visible Hands - Invisible Women: Garment Production in Turkey


  • Saniye Dedeoğlu


The economic liberalization policies that started in the early 1980s marked a turn in Turkey's growth strategy by shifting it from import substitution to export orientation. Since then, the garment industry has been one of the top exporters, drawing on women as the main suppliers of informal labor for the industry through subcontracted and home-based piecework. Based on fieldwork, this paper examines the gender inequalities that underlie the export success of the garment industry, in which the organization of production and workplace relations embed and reproduce gender ideology and norms. Women's engagement in garment production is ensured through the articulation of women's subordinate position with the social organization of garment production and the mobilization of kinship relations. The continued expansion of garment exports and the ongoing informalization of nonagricultural employment, according to official estimates, suggest that these arrangements are becoming more extensive over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Saniye Dedeoğlu, 2010. "Visible Hands - Invisible Women: Garment Production in Turkey," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 1-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:16:y:2010:i:4:p:1-32
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2010.530606

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yeldan, A.E., 2000. "The Impact of Financial Liberalization and the Rise of Financial Rents on Income Inequality: The Case of Turkey," Research Paper 206, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
    2. Carr, Marilyn. & Chen, Martha., 2004. "Globalization, social exclusion and work : with special reference to informal employment and gender," ILO Working Papers 993698513402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. Carr, Marilyn. & Chen, Martha Alter., 2002. "Globalization and the informal economy : how global trade and investment impact on the working poor," ILO Working Papers 993541723402676, International Labour Organization.
    4. Robert Pollin & James Heintz, 2003. "Informalization, Economic Growth and the Challenge of Creating Viable Labor Standards in Developing Countries," Working Papers wp60, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    5. repec:ilo:ilowps:354172 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. James Heintz, 2006. "Globalization, Economic policy and Employment: Poverty and Gender Implications," Published Studies heintz_gender, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    7. repec:ilo:ilowps:369851 is not listed on IDEAS
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