What is work? Who are workers? Which activities are considered work, and which ones are excluded? These questions are some of the most critical questions in political and economic analysis. And how they are answered—both personally and by political institutions—is vital to how people spend their time and thus their lives.
On this episode, we investigate this question specifically through the international debates about the “woman worker” as a unique kind of worker. To do this, Eileen Boris looks at the International Labor Organization—the international body, now housed in the United Nations—that sets global labor standards. She investigates how the ILO has considered this issue across their 100 year history.
Eileen Boris is the Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. She is author of Making the Woman Worker Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019.