This pioneering collection of essays brings together a description and analysis of women workers and the socio-economic systems of plantations world-wide. The plantation remains a formidable force in many areas of the world and new trends towards tree farming call for further examination of its agriculture. Women have, in the past, constituted a considerable precentage of the work force in this milieu, and continue to do so.Using specific case studies of historical and contemporary plantations, an account is given of the history of female labour, focusing on the colonial and post-colonial eras. The essays examine reasons for women's degraded status and emphasize, in particular, issues relating to migrant workers.The gradual move away from traditional family roles is, to some extent, reflected in variations in the position of the female plantation worker. However, where inequalities in class and status continue to characterize plantation life, capitalist and patriarchal control prevails.Both chilling and bracing, the sufferings of plantation labourers may seem remote to most of us, but they are still very much part of the contemporary world. Providing a close insight into the lives of the female protagonists, these essays have given an opportunity for their stories to be heard.
Shobita Jain IGNOU, New DelhiRhoda Reddock University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
1 Plantation Women: An Introduction 2 Women Field Workers in Jamaica During Slavery 3 The Indentureship Experience: Indian Women in Trinidad and Tobago 1845-1917 4 Migration, Labour and Plantation Women in Fiji: A Historical Perspective 5 Tamil Women on Sri Lankan Plantations: Labour Control and Patriarchy 6 Indian Migrant Women and Plantation Labour in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Jamaica: Gender Perspectives 7 Gender Relations and the Plantation System in Assam, India 8 Women's Role in the Household Survival of the Rural Poor: The Case of the Sugar-cane Workers in Negros Occidental 9 Women Plantation Workers and Economic Crisis in Cameroon