Eileen Boris’s new book, Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919–2019, traces the history of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) incremental recognition of the work of social reproduction, culminating in the struggle of domestic workers to gain formal recognition at the ILO. Throughout three sections, Boris demonstrates the global making of the woman worker. She provides extensive evidence of how extraction of labor and raw materials from former colonies nourished and sustained the postwar welfare state. In the age of neoliberal globalization, the “global” is reconfigured partly through the expansion of migrant (domestic/care) labor alongside the production of cheap commodities. For Boris, the context of the Cold War is also central to making the woman worker, as the ILO standards regarding women’s work were produced by the struggle between the US and the USSR and these superpowers’ competing conceptions of social citizenship. Making...

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