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Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich Essay (Book Review)


“Global Woman” is a collection of many essays from different parts of the world. It contains essays from America, Europe and Africa, among other continents. It talks about the challenges facing women in their work environments. The authors epitomize issues facing women from poor countries. These women are forced by circumstances to migrate to developed countries for better lives. However, this does not serve its purpose because they end up raising other people’s children while unable to raise their own children who are left behind. This paper will explore the issues that concern women from developing worlds.

Overview of the themes of Global Women

The authors provide disheartening stories about women from poor families. They have to choose between staying away from their loved ones and living in dire poverty. This is quite severe on both women and children who grow up without their parents. Several themes have been portrayed in the book. These include “lives of children of transnational families,” “modern day slavery,” “gender imbalance,” poverty and globalization, among others.

Some of the topics contained in the book include “sex trafficking and modern day slavery,” “female migration and notions of migration in Sri Lanka,” and “the experience of paid caregivers of disabled people,” among others. The book provides experiences of women from poor backgrounds as well as women’s strive to raise families. Of great concern is the impact of globalization that has allowed sex trafficking. In general, the book discusses issues facing women from developing countries. These range from social to economic issues.

Summary of two essays in the book

Plight of Filipino maids by Nicole constable

This essay gives a story on the plight of housekeepers of Filipino origin in Hong Kong. The author recollects Cathy’s story on her experiences as a house help in Hong Kong. Cathy’s mother is a widow and she (Cathy) is the youngest of 6 siblings. She goes to work in Hong Kong as a helper. The story goes on to list numerous issues faced by Cathy in her search for money and comfort. Firstly, her salary is reduced and ownership of bank account withheld by her employer. Other issues include deviation from minimum wage, among other mistreatments.

For instance, she serves last, which confines her to leftovers. In addition, she sleeps in a leaking store, while the family sleeps in a conditioned house. New rules were also created for her, which included salary deduction in case of “misconduct.” From these experiences, it can be seen that modern day slavery is taking shape in developed worlds like Hong Kong against women from developing countries. In addition, freedom of association or expression is denied. Moreover, the right to food and health is also denied. This essay raises concerns on the plight of Filipino house helps and foreign domestic workers in general.

Love and Gold by Arlie Hochschild

The author narrates Clinton and Bautista’s story. These children come from the Philippines. Their parents have migrated to the U.S. in search for money. They receive international pledge. This very act is opposed by United States law of 1959. However, for a Filipino, it does not stand. In essence, the action contravenes United States law but this is ignored since these are foreigners.

Relationship between Clinton and her mother has also sored because of her prolonged absence. In addition, Bautista’s mother suffers the pain of circumstantial separation from her husband, who goes to Korea in search for job. The children are now missing both parents. The essay highlights the plight of women in United States and other developed countries where they go in search for work.

They sacrifice marriage, love and self-esteem for money. In addition, they have no choice but to stick to work because their circumstances back at home are dire. The relationship between Nannies, their employers and the babies are also defined. Her employer’s baby enjoys love from two mothers while her own babies lack it. She longs for her babies but has no option but to stay in the U.S. to survive. The essay highlights other parallel cases with similar, if not worse results on house helps.

Link of concerns to globalization

Globalization has brought about many benefits. However, its limits are also far reaching. The issues portrayed in the two essays are directly linked to globalization. For instance, globalization has portrayed some cultures as superior to others. In effect, those who come from perceived lower cultures have found it hard to survive in their new homes where superior culture reign. Globalization has left these innocent women at the mercy of their respective employers. Furthermore, very little has been done to ensure that these discrepancies are addressed.

Moreover, globalization has set out high standards for women in developing worlds. This has made life difficult for them. They now have to choose between poverty and isolation from their loved ones. Globalization has encouraged exploitation of people from developing countries by those from developed world. In essence, globalization has brought about a new age of slavery where women’s power, time, freedom and movements are controlled by their employers.

Policies called for

Issues such as human trafficking should be controlled by the immigration departments as well as other relevant agencies to curb the rising rate of trafficking among women. Policies aimed at addressing human trafficking should be increased. In addition, Agencies that deal with employment should be monitored closely by policy makers to ensure that they conform to policies on employment of domestic workers. Policies should also be made to help domestic workers unite with their families regularly. Moreover, policies should also be implemented to stem abuse of domestic workers as seen in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, among other places.


These essays raise genuine concerns that face globalization in the world. In fact, they lay bare the problems that women and children face across the globe. It is quite disheartening to see a house help denied basic rights because of money. These women are treated like dogs; even dogs get better treatment than women in some countries like Hong Kong do. Some Women face more dire consequences like HIV infection due to human trafficking for prostitution.

This is inhuman. Everyone, irrespective of gender, race, background or social status deserves respect. The right to basic needs like food, shelter and water should be accorded without question. Globalization is far from reaching its objectives. More needs to be done to control these inhuman acts.


Women have equal rights with their male counterparts. Moreover, they have same rights as their female friends too. Therefore, women should not treat their colleagues in such a manner. It is quite disheartening to observe that women are forefront in enslaving their fellow women from developing countries.

This shows that women too, have a long way to go before they realize complete independence. Domestic workers should be given opportunities to live with their loved ones, this is essential in mending their emotional/mental issues. Moreover, more should be done to curb human trafficking. Policies should also be enacted to regulate employment agencies and follow up on employers.

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"Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich." IvyPanda, 2 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/global-woman-by-barbara-ehrenreich/.

1. IvyPanda. "Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich." May 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-woman-by-barbara-ehrenreich/.


IvyPanda. "Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich." May 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-woman-by-barbara-ehrenreich/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich." May 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-woman-by-barbara-ehrenreich/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich'. 2 May.

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