Gender and class composition: A discussion on women's unpaid work in a globalised world in the light of cases from Turkey
Department of Sociology Mugla University Mugla, Turkey
In the contemporary world, the proportion of informal jobs and informal workers is increasing; the size and scope of informal economy are growing in both first and third worlds; the proportion of women in the informal economy is growing. Turkey is not an exception.
In the first part of my discussion, I argue that, as mainly based on my field research on weaving in Turkey and from data on home-based work, work status of women -in both senses of being workers and of being workers with poor working conditions and without social security protection- and their concentration in informal and insecure jobs are closely connected with the unpaid work which is traditionally left on women's shoulders and now is doubled with the shrinking of nation-states and with the privatisation of especially health and education services. In other words, there is a strong relationship between women's unpaid work load and the composition of the working class.
The second part of my discussion is about the effects of this for the theory of class formation. If women's positionalities within the working class are mainly determined by their unpaid labour, what are the results of this in terms of class theory? In this part, I will emphasize the importance of the theories which theorise women's unpaid work as production (not re-production). I will call attention to especially Christine Delphy's work.