Advertisement

Hong Kong Female Garment Workers and China’s Open Door

  • Kaxton SiuEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Series in Asian Labor and Welfare Policies book series (Series in Asian Labor and Welfare Policies)

Abstract

This chapter provides a comparative context for the broad economic processes underway on the south China coast, by focusing on Hong Kong’s changing positions in global garment production. To compare the circumstances of Chinese workers in the 1990s and today, I relate the stories of two Hong Kong female garment workers and review their life cycles and work histories during Hong Kong’s transition from manufacturing boom to bust. This transition witnessed a proliferation of subcontracting practices in the garment industry and the rise of patron–client and labor–management relationships up until the mid-1990s. By the end of the 1990s, Hong Kong factory management had abandoned their Hong Kong workforce, resulting in “deskilling” as many garment workers left the industry and entered the low-pay service sector.

References

  1. Battat, J. (1991). Foreign investment in China in the 90s: Developing trends. East Asian Executive Reports, 13(8), 11–17.Google Scholar
  2. Beneria, L., & Roldan, M. (1987). The crossroads of class and gender: Industrial homework, subcontracting, and household dynamics in Mexico City. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brinton, M. C. (1993). Women and the economic miracle: Gender and work in postwar Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Castells, M., Goh, L., & Kwok, R. Y. W. (1990). The Shek Kip Mei syndrome: Economic development and public housing in Hong Kong and Singapore. London: Pion.Google Scholar
  5. Chapkis, W., & Enloe, C. H. (Eds.). (1983). Of common cloth: Women in the global textile industry. Washington, DC: Transnational Institute.Google Scholar
  6. Chiu, S. W. K., & So, A. Y. (2004). Flexible production and industrial restructuring in Hong Kong: From boom to bust? In R. A. Fernandez, G. G. Gonzalez, V. Price, D. Smith, & L. T. Vo (Eds.), Labor versus empire: Race, gender, migration (pp. 197–213). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Lau, S. K. (1982). Society and politics in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Lee, C. K. (1993). Familial hegemony: Gender and production politics on Hong Kong’s electronics shopfloor. Gender & Society, 7(4), 529–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lee, C. K. (1998). Gender and the South China miracle: Two worlds of factory women. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  10. Lui, T. L. (1994). Waged work at home: The social organization of industrial outwork in Hong Kong. Aldershot, England: Avebury.Google Scholar
  11. Ma, E. K. W. (1999). Culture, politics and television in Hong Kong. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Marx, K. (1976). Capital: A critique of political economy (Vol. 1, B. Fowkes, Trans.). London: Penguin in association with New Left Review.Google Scholar
  13. Mies, M. (1986). Patriarchy and accumulation on a world scale. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  14. Nash, J. C., & Fernández-Kelly, M. P. (Eds.). (1983). Women, men, and the international division of labor. Suny Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ngo, H. Y. (1990). Married women’s participation in Hong Kong economy. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  16. Ngo, H. Y. (1992). Employment status of married women in Hong Kong. Sociological Perspectives, 35(3), 475–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ong, A. (2010). Spirits of resistance and capitalist discipline: Factory women in Malaysia. Albany: State University of New York Press (Original work published 1987).Google Scholar
  18. Roos, P. A. (1981). Sex stratification in the workplace: Male-female differences in economic returns to occupation. Social Science Research, 10, 195–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Salaff, J. W. (1986). Women, the family and the state: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore—Newly-industrialized countries in Asia. In L. B. Iglitzin & R. Ross (Eds.), Women in the world: 1975–1985, The women’s decade (pp. 352–357). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.Google Scholar
  20. Salaff, J. W. (1995). Working daughters of Hong Kong: Filial piety or power in the family? New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Siu, K. (2006). New labor protest movements in Hong Kong: The experience of the student-worker mutual aid campaign. In S. Dasgupta & R. Kiely (Eds.), Globalization and after (pp. 392–409). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Siu, K. (2011). A brief history of the struggle for standard work hours legislation in Hong Kong (in Chinese). Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, 41, 17–40.Google Scholar
  23. So, A. Y. (1990). Social change and development: Modernization, dependency, and world-systems theories. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. So, A. Y. & Chiu, S. W. K. (1995). East Asia and the world economy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Wong, S. L. (1988). Emigrant entrepreneurs: Shanghai industrialists in Hong Kong. Hong Kong and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Yeung, Y. M. (1997). Planning for pearl city: Hong Kong’s future, 1997 and beyond. Cities, 14(5), 249–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong

Personalised recommendations