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Gannagé, Charlene.

Toronto, Women's Press, c1986. 235pp, paper, $10.95, ISBN 0-88961-00-9.CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Rausa

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

Charlene Gannagé's work, Double Day, Double Bind, is a revealing study of the discrimination women face in the workplace. The author, who teaches sociology at the University of Toronto, based this work on a doctoral dissertation she wrote in 1984. In order to gain material for her study, she interviewed women at edna Manufacture, a pseudonym for one of Toronto's garment factories. She spoke with management personnel, trade-union officials, and the owner of the shop, but the majority of the workers she interviewed were women, the rank and file of the garment trade. She was particularly interested in their double day of labour; working eight hours (sometimes more with overtime) at the factory and then going home to deal with the needs of the family.

The economic reality is that most families need two paycheques to survive. Yet the prevailing attitude in the garment industry is that a woman works to have extra spending money or to supplement families need two pay cheques to survive. Yet the prevailing attitude in the garment industry is that a woman works to have extra spending money or to supplement her husband's wages. Thus, the higher-paying, high-skilled positions are generally occupied by the men, while the majority of women are employed in the lower-skilled jobs, paid on a piece-work basis. Although the women believe they have some sort of control over their work, in reality they push themselves to the limit to complete more garments so that they will earn a few more dollars to tide them over the long, seasonal lay-offs.

After an exhausting day, the typical woman worker must rush home to collect her children from day-care (if she is lucky enough to have it) and put in another eight hours cleaning, cooking, and looking after the needs of her family. Needless to say, women's issues (i.e., better day-care, time off when her child gets sick) are largely ignored by union officials. The women have no time to participate in, or even attend union meetings. The male-dominated union executive deals strictly with wage-oriented demands and the needs of the women workers go unvoiced. Gannageé sums up the struggle these women have faced on three fronts: "against the tyranny of the employers who (wish) to increase their hours and decrease their wages; against a union leadership that (wishes) to maintain the status quo; and against patriarchal attitudes that (relegate) women's place to the home and not the picket line."

While this work analyzes the effects of class, gender, and ethnicity on women workers in the garment industry, many women who work outside of the home will identify with the concerns voiced by the workers in this study. Recommended for academic and public libraries.

Ruth Rausa, Toronto, Ont.
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