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Forty shades of grey : women in the Irish electronics industry Cahill, Anna Mary 2001

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F O R T Y SHADES OF G R E Y : W O M E N IN T H E IRISH ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY  by A N N A M A R Y CAFULL B.S.W., The University of British Columbia, 1995  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF SOCIAL W O R K in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES School of Social Work and Family Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A September 2001 ©  Anna Cahill, 2001  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of Social Work and Family Studies The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date  ^Pj&fcKJ&e^  ABSTRACT  This research study examines the experiences of women working in electronics assembly in Cork, Ireland in the context of globalization and the growing internationalization and feminization of the industrial work force. Utilizing a case study format, the study presents descriptive information on the health concerns and occupational health and safety experiences of 12 women working at two electronics' plants. Findings were congruent with statistics in the general literature. The majority of participants were young women who had worked in the industry from 4 to 17 years. Most of the employment shifts were horizontal in nature and the majority of participants had experienced little upward mobility. The health concerns raised are salient: 76% reported experiencing serious, recurring headaches; 75% reported serious skin concerns - rashes, bruising, broken skin; 67% reported respiratory difficulties and 67% difficulties with vision. The most significant findings were in the area of occupational health and safety. None of the study participants had ever received any form of training on chemicals' handling or awareness, including the health and safety co-ordinator at one plant. Contrary to the legislation, various workplace measures to protect workers' health are neither being implemented nor enforced. Participants generally reported feeling unsupported by both the health and safety body and the union structure. General recommendations and recommendations for further research in a number of areas are presented.  (ii)  TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE  Abstract Table of Contents List of Tables Acknowledgements Preface  (ii) (»i) (v) (vi) (vii)  CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1. You Can't Go Home Again 2. All Has Changed, Changed Utterly....  1 1 4  CHAPTER 2 THE GLOBALIZATION OF PRODUCTION 1. Modernization Theory 2. Theories of Underdevelopment 3. The Celtic Tiger - Irish Economic Development  6 8 11 17  CHAPTER 3 GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT 1. Dual Labour Market 2. Women as Earners in Family Economies 3. Preferential Hiring of Women- the Excuses of Industry 4. Development Theory - Ahem! And What About Gender?  28 31 33 35 38  CHAPTER 4 THE PATRIARCHAL IRISH STATE 1. The Irish Constitution 2. Export-Led Development and the Patriarchal Irish State 3. Women in the Irish Workforce 4. Patriarchal Capitalism  41 41 45 46 47  CHAPTER 5 ELECTRONICS PRODUCTION AND ASSEMBLY - HEALTH HAZARDS  51  CHAPTER 6 IRISH OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGISLATION 1. - Safety. Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 (a) General Duties of Employers to their Employees (b) Personal Protective Equipment (iii)  56 56 56 57  PAGE  (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)  Information, Training and Instruction Carcinogens Chemical Agents Pregnant Employees Duties of Employees  58 59 60 61 62  2.  Enforcement - the Health and Safety Authority  63  CHAPTER 7 RESEARCH METHOD 1. Research Perspective 2. Research Goals 3. Level of Design 4. Participants 5. Measure 6. Procedures 7. Analysis  65 65 66 66 68 69 71 73  CHAPTER 8 RESULTS 1. Demographic Information 2. Worker Health and Well-Being 3. Workplace Health and Safety  74 74 78 86  CHAPTER 9 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION  94  CHAPTER 10 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER WORK  104  REFERENCES  112  APPENDIX Certificate of Approval and Interview Schedule  (iv)  ,121  LIST OF TABLES  TABLE 1.  2.  3.  PAGE  Structure of the Sampled Female Workforce  74  A. B. C D.  74 74 74 75  Marital and Family Education Levels Attained Annual Earnings Age Structure  Worker Health and Well-Being  78  A. B. C(i) C. (ii) D.  78 78 78 79 86  Sick Leave in the Past Year Pertinent Prior Medical History Medical Conditions at Time of Study Medical Conditions at Time of Study Chemical Dependency Screening  Workplace Health and Safety  87  A. B. C.  87 87  D. E.  Training Health and Safety Concerns of the Workforce List of Chemicals and Physical Conditions Encountered in the Workplace Personal Protective Equipment Clothing Change  (v)  88 91 91  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  With very special thanks to: *  The 12 souls brave enough to tell their stories  *  My family, particularly my mother and father  *  Marg Wright, Roop Seebaran, Ted Smith, Rory Finnegan, Frank Tester and Susan Cole Marshall; and  *  Pat - without our weekends, I would not havefinishedthis!  Above all else, This is for Celine  (vi)  "All these things I will write down, yet it is not only that they trouble my mind...For I also remember the voice that came to John in Patmos, saying, what thou seest, write it in a book and though I do not dare to claim a knowledge of this voice, yet I do dare to claim a knowledge of some voice. Therefore, I put aside my fears and am obedient." AlanPaton. Too Late the Phalarope  (vii)  CHAPTER ONE TNTRODTJCTTON L  You Can't Go Home Again  On the 6th of May, 1985,1 left Ireland and headed for Vancouver on what I thought was to be a one year contract as a nanny. I was 18 years old. I had applied some months earlier to leave but was refused a visa until my 18th birthday. I left on a one-way ticket, Vancouver via Toronto with $140 in my pocket and two suitcases in which I had carefully packed everything I owned. My whole family travelled to Shannon with me that morning and waited until Ifinallyboarded aflight,delayed by an earlier bomb scare in Belfast. The same caused later complications for me in Toronto as I share the same last name as then well-known IRA activist, Martin Cahill, the implications of which I was too naive at the time to comprehend. I can still see my mother's shattered expression as, through a glass partition, I blithely waved and made my way through the exit terminal. It is only now, a mother myself, that I understand her distress.  In 1999, in order to meet the research requirements for my degree, I went home to Ireland. I had been back during these years, but only for very short periods of time. I knew, even before I registered in my degree program, that I wanted to study, somehow, the lives of working Irish women. I needed to pick a population. I chose women in the electronics' industry. I needed to pick an area of investigation. I chose women in electronics and the gender division of labour.  I dived into the literature. I found little on women in Ireland but was able to draw ready comparison with women in the same industry worldwide. As I scanned article after article on the gender division of labour both on the factory floor and in the homefront, I was - 1-  slowly drawn to the literature screaming for my attention on the health hazards associated with the work - high rates of spontaneous abortion, reproductive hazards, birth defects, breast cancer, brain tumours, asthma, allergies, headaches, eyestrain... Week after week, I found myself calling my sister, working in the industry, with another horrificfindingand, to her sometimes consternation, a barrage of questions - do you ever wear goggles? what about gloves? what do you mean you don't wear a mask? At the same time, I was slowly contacting Irish environmental organizations, health and safety authorities, universities, unions, assuming that the little headway I was gathering was simply due to the awkward stupidity of my questions and my own ignorance.  In the spring of 1999,1 went home to Ireland. I met with environmental activists and interviewed health and safety, industrial development and union officials. I interviewed 12 women working in electronics assembly, documenting their concerns and health and safety practices. I facilitated an educational piece, sharing with research participants pertinent health and safety information I had gatheredfromoutside Ireland. And then I returned to Vancouver and the results of my study sat in a milk crate for over a year during which time I agonized over the work; over questions of citizenship and entitlement; of nationhood and identity; of community and belonging. "You can't go home again". I feel, in many ways, like an outsider in Ireland, not really Irish anymore and yet neither do I feel Canadian. Who am I then? Is this all, as a friend challenged, a selfish act? I have my education and profession, some certain defence against having to spend 12 hours every day working in unsafe, potentially lethal, conditions because I have a mortgage to pay, children to rear and little alternatives. Who am I, Anna Cahill, like the typically despised, returned "Yank" to now go back and pass judgement on the seeming inefficacy of Irish health and safety legislation, on the attitudes of health and safety officials, on the practice -2-  of industrial development officers and union representatives, on the health and safety measures Irish women are or are not taking in the workplace. Yet, who am I not to?  2.  All Has Changed. Changed Utterly  In the Ireland of 1984 that we were thrown into after completing leaving certificate there were a number of limited options available to any 17 year old. Some went to university (UCC) or to the Regional College for technical training. In a struggling economy with little employment opportunity, a few managed tofindwork. The rest migrated - to England, Australia, Canada, the United States. In those days, electronics was an attractive employer for those who did not leave, attractive particularly for young girls without access to third level education.  When I left we did not have a telephone at home and calls home to my family were made through our next door neighbours. Divorce was illegal, as was abortion. Women wanting to terminate pregnancies went, literally, by the boatload to England weekly. Contraception was available only with a prescriptionfroma family doctor. Public transportation was less than reliable, homosexuality a sin.  In a few short years, there has literally been a social explosion in Ireland. The "Celtic Tiger", with a booming economy, Ireland is apparently THE place currently in Europe for anyone working in information technologies. Structural fundingfromthe EU has funded the creation of highways and tunnels, designed to move people rapidly through an ever growing urban sprawl. For thefirsttime in my memory, there are signs posted in storefronts and businesses advertising available jobs. There is a massive labour shortage, so large that work programs are releasing prisoners into labour strapped areas of the economy and a labour drive was recently reported as far afield as Newfoundland. It is next to impossible to hire a plumber, electrician or carpenter for non-industrial work. The general population now appears to be enjoying a large disposable income for thefirsttime -4-  ever and there are at least 2 or 3 cars parked outside nearly every home, homes that are getting larger and larger and larger. Most of the friends who left when I did are now going back.  Going back to more, however, than work opportunities. Street drug activity in Dublin is now one of the busiest in Europe with Mafia style street shootings the likes of which have led many to compare Dublin to Chicago in the 1930's. The infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of so many vehicles. There is little environmental protection, high levels of pollution and an increasingly atrocious air quality. Despite centuries of hardship which has always culminated in high cycles of migration, the Irish are grumbling about having to share their new found wealth with immigrants or "foreigners". Tremendous increases in housing prices have left many average Irish persons now unable to afford to purchase a family home. Large, crawling industries, the majority of which are foreign owned, are encroaching, like a slow spreading poison, into the landscape and waterways. Gone is the openness and hospitality of the Irish, the sense of community and social obligation, as people, in their need to self-protect, are becoming more and more insular.  All has changed, changed utterly...  CHAPTER TWO THE GLOBALIZATION OF PRODUCTION As I sit at my computer, at this given moment in time, millions of women world-wide are earning their living producing and assembling components for the electronics industry. The circuits produced and assembled on a daily basis are an integral part of all computer-based technologies, critical to national and international communications, defence and medical systems alike. We are in the midst, supposedly, of a technological revolution, one that is having a profound impact, even as I write, on the very manner in which all of us communicate, work and relate in our daily lives. There is nothing profoundly revolutionary, however, about the work that women do in the production and assembly end of the electronics industry (Hodgson and Reardon, 1993).  Increasingly, studies show that electronics production and assembly is not only dangerous to the health of workers involved, but is also dangerous to the health and welfare of workers' families and damaging to the surrounding environment (Gassert, 1985(b); Hodgson and Reardon, 1993). It is work that involves exposure on a daily basis to hazardous chemicals and dangerous production processes. It is work that is proving to be toxic and highly pollutant.  It is also work that is primarily done by women. The overall production process in electronics is labour intensive with low material costs and unsuited to mechanization due to both the rapidity of innovation and the complexity of the production process (Fox, 1988). The electronic industry's historical pattern has essentially involved retention of technological research and high-end work at the core (developed countries, primarily the US, Germany and Japan) and the export or offshore-sourcing of the production end to  developing countries such as Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand and China. Due to the work's labour intensity, companies have principally sought to relocate to areas where labour costs are either relatively or simply low (Fox, 1988). Proven favourites have been countries withfree-tradezones or those with export-driven development agendas. Ireland has not been exceptional in this regard.  There is, quite literally, a mass of information on women in the electronics industry globally. There appears to be, however, neither continuity nor consistency between sources and perspectives. It is, by now, not in any way disputable that the core of economic exchange as we know it is taking place within a complex, interdependent worldwide economy. Any analysis of the experiences of women working in the Irish electronics industry must begin in this global context. The last thirty to forty years or so have laid witness to what have been unfettered attempts to liberalize and internationalize production and trade world wide. We live in a world in which the term "global" has become part of everyday language - "the global village", "the global market", "the global office". Nothing seems to be local anymore. We see the emergence of three key world trade blocks: the European Union, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, which includes the "four tigers" of Asia - Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea; and the American market, notablyfreetrade arrangements between the United States, Canada and Mexico (Daza Samper, 1997). We have seen efforts to secure a Multinational Agreement on Investment (MAI), an agreement the OECD had attempted to negotiate in virtual secrecy (Nelson, 1998) and one which its supporters had called the constitution for a new global economy and, more recently, organized discussion about afreetrade agreement for the Americas. We have witnessed a heightened integration of undeveloped economies into the global market, a new international economic order and attempts in  many developing nations to industrialize and develop capitalist methods of production, particularly through the pursuit of export-led development policies. We are in the midst of a revolution in information technology which in its obliteration of the very notion of "space" has facilitated and expedited the internationalization of capital accumulation (Harvey, 1996; Daza Samper, 1997). Consequently, there have been phenomenal shifts in terms of both traditional and historic production, market, capital, management and labour divisions both within and between nations. One of the key features in this restructuring of the global economy has been the development and proliferation offreetrade or export-processing zones. Explanations for these events differ.  L  Modernization Theory  Traditional explanations of economic change and development fall typically into two broad categories - neoclassical modernization theories and theories of underdevelopment. The fundamental premise underlying modernization theorists' contribution is the notion that societies, in a somewhat Darwinian fashion, evolve or develop in a stage-like manner from traditional to modern or industrial and that such development is inevitably contingent upon a shift in societal values, attitudes and social norms. There is an often implicit assumption, and sometimes explicit assertion, that traditional is "backward" or "primitive" while modern or industrial represents "progress". The social, political and economic systems characteristic of North America and Western Europe (liberal, democratic, market economies) are viewed as development goals, primarily because those writing in this strain tend to be both products of and adherents to such systems. The economist WW. Rostow's (1960) Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto offers a much-cited example of such a stage-like model, one that perhaps best typifies the modernization approach, particularly in its assumption that economic progress is not only  possible but beneficial "be it [for] national dignity, private profit, the general welfare or a better life for the children" (Rostow, 1960:6).  Rostow identifiesfivestages of growth through which all societies progress. The first stage, the traditional society, is one that is typified by what the economist terms "limited production functions" with a high proportion of resources devoted to agriculture and a tangential value system that he writes is suggestive of a "long-run fatalism: that is, the assumption that the range of possibilities open to one's grandchildren would be just about what it had been for one's grandparents". The second stage in the model is termed "the pre-conditions for take-off', characterized by the beginnings of new productive functions in both agriculture and industry, a transition phase necessary, the author cautions, "for it takes time to transform a traditional society in the ways necessary for it to exploit the fruits of modern science". Because Britain was, according to Rostow, "favoured" by social and political structures, trading potential and geography, it was thefirstcountry to fully develop such pre-conditions. Consequent invasions of less "advanced" by more "advanced" societies "set in motion ideas and sentiments which initiated the process by which a modem alternative to the traditional society was constructed out of the old culture".  The third stage in this model, the "take-off stage", Rostow sees as the "great watershed in the life of modern societies", the "interval which the old blocks and resistances to steady growth arefinallyovercome" and when growth becomes the society's "normal condition". The stimulus for take-off is often technological, aided by the "political power of a group prepared to regard the modernization of the economy as serious, high-order, political business". The modern industrial sector is expanded and agriculture  commercialized, alongside which emerges a new industrial class and the social and political structures necessary to support such economic change. This stage is followed by one termed "the drive to maturity" and the model ends with what the writer calls the "age of high-mass consumption", the time in which, as Rostow writes, all can acquire and enjoy "the consumption fruits of a mature economy" (Rostow, 1960:4-10).  Since the 1950s, there have been concerted efforts by many developing countries to shift the focus of their economiesfromagriculture to industry and service based. Initial development efforts focused on import-substitution policies but were replaced, in the 1960s, by export-led development policies; policies that involve the development of manufacturing for export. It is known as "industrialization by invitation".  Although initiated in a variety of different countries, a central feature of export-led development has been the construction offree-tradeor export processing zones. A free-trade zone, in technical terms, is defined by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) as " a clearly demarcated industrial zone which constitutes a free trade enclave outside a country's normal customs and trading system where foreign enterprises produce principally for export and benefitfromcertain tax and financial incentives (ICFTU, 1998:9-10). Since their inception in Shannon, Ireland, in 1960, free trade zones have proliferated throughout the global economy. In 1995, according to an ICFTU statistic (ICFTU, 1998), there were as many as 230 export processing zones found in some 70 countries, over 100 of which were in Latin America and the Caribbean, 64 in Asia and 31 in Africa. Between 1975 and 1986, employment infreetrade zones grew by 9 percent, and by 14 percent between 1986 and 1990. Three million Asians, 1.2 million Latin Americans and 250,000 Caribbean workers are employed infreetrade zones. In  - 10-  China, it is estimated that anywhere between 14 and 40 million Chinese are employed in the "special economic zones" (ICFTU, 1998 citing undated International Labour Organization (HO) figures).  Export processing zones are established according to development needs, notably in rural regions. They are said, by the architects of modernization, to promote national industrial development, to encourage the creation of indigenous industry and to stimulate local economies. They are welcomed for the putative potential they offer to attract foreign currency, to generate foreign exchange earnings, particularly in the form of an international currency, such as the dollar or mark, without which imports such as oil or machinery cannot be purchased (Fuentes and Ehrenreich, 1989) and to foster a transfer of technology. Zones welcome assembly line operations. Typically, foreign investment is high and exported products often represent a high percentage of national exports. Multinationals operating in the zones are said to offerfinancialand technical assistance to host countries and to contribute to increasing skill levels, particularly management skills, to adhere to and apply occupational health and safety standards that exceed those of the host country, and, most importantly, to provide employment opportunities, not only for men but also for women, opportunities that are said to be critical for fostering equality (Cabado, 1994).  Free-trade zones, export-led development and modernization theory are not without their critics.  2*  Theories of Underdevelopment  Theories of underdevelopment are primarily Marxist and neo-Marxist in orientation in that  -11-  they regard as Schuurman (1993:2) writes, both social and political relations to be "determined by the primacy of production relations". According to dependency theory, underdevelopment is an historical process with colonial and imperial roots and not a "condition" intrinsic to the Third World as modernization theorists would have us believe. What is typically described as under or less-developed is actually an historical function of capitalism in that, through penetration by both bank and industrial capital, peripheral countries have been plundered of surplus resources. This process, critical to the development of the core, has resulted in the under-development of the periphery. Thus, core and peripheral countries have become structurally linked in relations of exploitation and dependence.  Wallerstein (1974; 1986) writing about world systems theory, argues that a capitalist economy actually came into existence in the sixteenth century during the colonial era. Over the past 500 years or so, this world system hasflourished,primarily because capitalism as an economic mode moves freely in an arena larger than which any one political entity can regulate or control. Capitalists are not bound by the rules of nations or states. It is this particularity, the economist writes, that "has made possible the constant expansion of the world-system, albeit a very skewed distribution of its rewards" (1974:348). The capitalist world system, functioning as any system with its own "boundaries, structures, member groups, rules of legitimation and coherence (Wallerstein, 1974:347) consists of core, peripheral and semi-peripheral areas. Industrialized countries form the core, areas that are historically and structurally linked to peripheral areas (agricultural export countries) and semi-peripheral areas, that act as go-between or middle trading groups.  - 12-  Folker, Heinrichs and Kreye (1977) write about the emergence of a new international division of labour, a new hierarchy of production processes whereby developing nations, once sources for raw materials, have now become regions for manufacturing activity, a division that has functioned to deepen the historical process of underdevelopment. Industrialization for a world market intensifies and perpetuates existing inequalities and the structures that generate dependency. The authors suggest that there are three pre-conditions that have brought into existence this world market for production and labour: a reservoir of disposable labour in developing countries; the advanced division and sub-division of the production process, whereby production has become fragmented and segmented into processes that require few skills; and advanced techniques of transport and communication.  Commodity production has been subdivided into fragments that can be assigned anywhere in the world, an assignation that functions in the "search for surplus" to facilitate capital accumulation, the determining force of capitalism. The last thirty to forty years or so have brought about a globalization of industrial production that essentially involves the placing of both the assembly and manufacturing operations of a production process in less developed nations by multi or trans-national corporations that have their bases in highly industrialized countries. Decision making processes remain in the core. It is known as offshore sourcing and has resulted in the creation of an internationally segmented labour market. As Rios (1990) writes: Technological innovations made the project of coordinating a global system of production a reality by making it possible to break down complex manufacturing activities into simple tasks that could be distributed worldwide and that were easily learned by unskilled workers. Innovations in transportation and communications also facilitated the relocation of - 13-  manufacturing establishments to nontraditional sites. Hence the global assembly line was born (331-332).  Harvey (1996) suggests that the 1970s and 1980s have seen a move from Fordist production systems, characteristic of modernization, to a new regime of accumulation, one he terms flexible accumulation, which, unlike the rigidity of its predecessor, depends on flexibility in terms of labour processes, labour markets, products and consumption patterns. One of the key emergences has been a radical restructuring of the labour market as we have come to know it, a shift from full-time, regular employment towards temporary, part-time or contract-based work assignments. Such labour market conditions have only further marginalized vulnerable populations, and have triggered, worldwide, a revival in familial and paternalistic labour systems.  Export processing zones, now the norm in the globalization of production, have been constructed not, as modernists would have us believe, for benevolent reasons such as technology transfer between nations and to stimulate the indigenous industries of less "developed" nations. Rather, they exist primarily to benefit the demands of multinationals, to curb European and US trade union demands and established environmental and safety standards, and, above all, to exploit the availability of cheap labour. They are havens for multinational corporations (Fuentes and Ehrenreich, 1989). Export-led development has proven to be the favoured development strategy behind the neo-liberal, structural adjustment policies of such organizations as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and both the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the so-called "opening up" or economic restructuring of  - 14-  Third World economies (Fuentes and Ehrenreich, 1989; ICFTU, 1998). The US international development agency USATD is said to be behind most of the initiatives to develop export processing zones in Central America (ICFTU, 1998) and, in fact, since World War II, the promotion of export-led development has been a central feature of US foreign policy (Taplin, 1986), through the provision not only of economic but also of military support. Unfortunately, the "paradox of development lies in the mistaken assumption that growth of commodity production will improve the satisfaction of basic needs" (Henshall Momsen, 1991:93). As Harvey (1996) writes: Modernization "promised development, emancipationfromwant, and full integration into Fordism, but... delivered destruction of local cultures, much oppression, and various forms of capitalist domination in return for rather meagre gains in living standards and services (e.g. public health) for any except a very affluent indigenous elite that chose to collaborate actively with international capital" (139).  This is the bargain. Most developing countries have low levels of industry, high youth populations and high unemployment (Daza Samper, 1997). This labour supply actually exists due to the forces of modernization; the removal of survival bases due to the destruction of subsistence agriculture and, in their place, the provision of an available, needy industrial class. Although the specifics vary, many open themselves up as export platforms and offer some or all of the following: the importation of capital and equipment on a dutyfreebasis, lengthy tax exemptions, grants to train workers, infrastructural provisions - roads, airports, electricity etc., subsidized provision of space and what amounts to almost completefreedomto repatriate profits. The most attractive incentives are an educated and somewhat docile labour force and stability - political, economic and social (Daza Samper, 1997). Salaff (1990) identifies three key state - 15-  strategies utilized in the promotion of export led development: the creation of a climate of political stability; the construction of an economic infrastructure suitable for investment; and the provision of a labour force, through the use of social policies that render subsistence economic activity not viable and force participation in a waged economy. Participation, once fostered, is ensured with strategies to severely restrict workers' rights.  Minimum rights, to which every labourer should be entitled, according to ICFTU (1998:21) include: "freedom of association, the right to organize and to bargain collectively, the prohibition of all forms of forced labour, the establishment of a minimum working age and the respect of acceptable working conditions in terms of a minimum wage, working hours, and health and safety". In export processing zones, workers' rights do not exist and what is typically found is suppression of freedom of association, suppression of the right to organize and to bargain collectively, and, in some cases, the outright prohibition of unions (Cabado, 1994). Prohibition is often justified by the suggestion of some governments that the working conditions infreetrade zones are so favourable that workers simply do not need unions (Cabado, 1994). Moreover, the fluidity of capital (Harvey, 1996) has rendered it practically impossible for workers to bring an employer to the bargaining table. As Nash and Fernandez-Kelly (1983) write: "In the past an employer was a physical being, often part of the same community where workers lived and exposed to a common social and economic fate. At present workers confront an impersonal and faceless corporate hierarchy in headquarters far from production sites" (x). With the emergence offreetrade blocks such as the EU, APEC, NAFTA and the proposed FTAA, entire blocks or regions are, essentially, emerging as  - 16-  free trade or export processing zones worldwide. Multinationals set up shop but when the incentives run out, industry simply picks up and relocates to where labour is cheaper or production restrictions more lax, thus coining the term "footloose" or "runaway" operations.  It remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be on the domestic Irish economy. 3.  The Celtic Tiger - Irish Economic Development  Ireland is currently one of the most open trading economies in the world. The seven year period, 1993-1999, saw a reported increase in GDP of 9%, an economic performance ranked as "spectacular" by the IMF (IDA, 1999). Close to 86% of GDP is exported. Computer equipment accounted for 22.8% of exports in 2000. Forty percent of Ireland's population of close to 4 million people are under 25 years of age. Ireland ranked highest of nine countries (including USA, Japan and UK) at 35.5% of future availability of workforce population under 25 in the year 2010 and, among the same countries, ranked as having one of the best education systems in the world. Ireland also shows the lowest hourly compensation costs for production workers in manufacturing. According to the IDA (Ireland's Industrial Development Agency), "A series of wage agreements between employers and employees ensure that wage inflation is low" (IDA, 1999).  There are currently some 1,000 foreign industrial operations located in Ireland, employing over 100,000 people. The foreign sector, in fact, accounts for close to half of all Irish manufacturing employment (Barry and Bradley, 1997). Over half of overseas - 17-  investment has comefromthe U.S. alone. In addition to the provision of a young, educated workforce, a stable political environment and a succession of co-operative governments, unrestricted access to a European market of some 350 million people is an important investment attraction (IDA, undated (b)).  While Ireland has about 1% of the European Union (EU's) population, it receives 25% of US investment in manufacturing industry in Europe (IDA, undated (b)). Since 1980, 40% of all inward investment in the European electronics sector has been based in Ireland (IDA, undated (b)). In 1997, trade between Ireland and the U.S. alone was worth around $12.0 billion. There are more than 500 U.S. subsidiaries in Ireland. Many of the world's largest computer companies (Apple, AT&T, Analog Devices, Fujitsu, Harris Semiconductor, Ffitech Electronics, Microsoft, IBM, ILC Data Device Corp., Intel, NEC, Quantum) have operations there (IDA, undated (b)). Intel's $2.5 billion wafer fabrication plant in the 1990's was the single largest foreign investment in Ireland's history (this is also the second largest INTEL plant in the world) (Linnane, 1999). Nearly one-third of personal computers sold in Europe are made in Ireland. Forty percent of all software and 60% of all business application software sold in Europe currently comesfromIreland. Only the U.S. exports more. Software alone is now a $2.4 billion industry employing more than 15,000 people (IDA, undated (b)).  The IDA (as mentioned above, Ireland's Industrial Development Agency) was originally established in 1948/49. Its power over the administration of industry was consolidated in 1970. The general, early aim of the IDA was to study the exports problem and to attract mobile investment to Ireland - any investment. This earlier marketing aim was  - 18-  non-focused. No questions were asked. Jobs were seen to be jobs. In the early to mid 1970s, the EDA's marketing aim became more focused and specific industrial sectors were targetted. Ireland had been an EEC member since 1973 and, as a stable European location, was seen as one of the cheapest places in Europe to invest in. Ireland had introducedfreesecondary education in 1968, and a better educated general populace allowed for the targetting of knowledge intensive business - electronics, healthcare, pharmaceuticals; all of which still remain the planks of Irish development. Why electronics? The industry was rapidly developing worldwide and apparently needed access to a skilled population. According to the IDA, these are still the same reasons industry is located there today. (Personal Communication, IDA, 1999).  The electronics industry developed in three phases: thefirstphase, pre-1980 characterized by the attraction of young, fast growing companies producing high value products, for example minicomputers, and needing access to the European market; a second phase, 1980-1988, characterized by the production of more complex products, for example mainframes and process control equipment and more integrated manufacturing; and a third phase, characterized by major growth through the 1990s, with some 45 new arrivals and significant expansions on the part of many of the companies that were present (Personal Communication, IDA, 1999).  The multinational electronics sector in the Cork area alone is a significant employer, constituting over 50% of total IDA-supported jobs. It is comprised of 55 companies employing over 7,300 permanent and 1,600 temporary staff, manufacturing a range of products that include discrete and integrated components, PCB's, sub-system  - 19-  peripherals, personal and mini-computers, networked systems, telecommunications equipment and electronic instrumentation. Cork's N M R C (National Microelectronics Research Centre), a dedicated training and research facility in semi-conductor and electronics technology in Ireland, receives half of its costs from European and American companies (IDA, undated (c)).  Although statistics such as "9% increase in GDP, $12.0 billion in trade with the US alone, 86% of GDP exported, 60% of all business application software sold in Europe comes from Ireland, $2.5 billion wafer fabrication plant", etc. seem dazzling, it would be prudent to perhaps peer beneath the surface. Allen O'Heam's 1988 historical and critical analysis of the development of export-led industrialization in Ireland suggests we should be cautious about any premature congratulatory backclapping or handshaking.  Ireland was one of the first countries to pursue export-led development (ELI) in the 1950s, starting with direct foreign investment in manufacturing, and the country has undergone a literal transformation from one of the world's most protected economies to one of its most open. Allen and Jones (1990) write: "Ireland functioned almost as a model for export-oriented, dependent development, just as in earlier days it was the first British colony, the first country to be subjected to the new wave of European expansion that led to the current world system" (248). Foreign manufacturing investment dominates Irish industry to the extent that multinational investment in Ireland has historically been higher than in any other developing country. Unlike countries which have selectively pursued free trade (such as Taiwan and South Korea), Ireland pursued full free-trade and completely abandoned protection (Allen O'Hearn, 1988).  -20-  Prior to ELI, Ireland was predominantly an agriculturally based country with a development strategy known as protected import substitution (ISI). At the end of World War II, a series of Anglo-Irish trade agreements tied Irish agricultural exports to British markets. By the early 1950s, ISI as a development strategy was stagnating (Allen O'Hearn, 1988).  Protection had kept Ireland isolatedfromthe global economy but external events in the world political economic system made continued protection impossible. Under the European Recovery Program, Ireland was to qualify for Marshall Aid (aid contingent upon the liberalization of trade in Europe and constructed primarily to combat the spread of Soviet influence through Europe and to ensure a market for leading US exports). This coincided with growing internal pressure within Irish bureaucracy for export-promotion policies. One requirement was that Marshall Aid recipients join the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) in 1948 (Allen O'Hearn, 1988).  Under American pressure, trade liberalization was quickly put into effect. By 1951, 75% of quotas on imports to Ireland had been removed. By 1955, this figure was 90%. Between 1955 and 1958, 26 new TNCs, along with ministerial approval and State grants, had already located in Ireland (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). Foreign aid forced the abandonment of domestic industry and membership in the OEEC meant further pressures toward trade liberalization. Marshall Aid and efforts at European integration had quickly shifted control of Ireland's development strategy into US and European hands (Allen O'Hearn, 1988).  By 1951, Marshall Aid had begun to reach an end. In 1957, Ireland joined the World -21 -  Bank and the IMF, which resulted in a series of further Acts in the 1950s (grants, tax relief) to remove restrictions on foreign investment. By the late 1950s, ELI was fully in place (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). Ireland is certainly not anomalous in this regard. As mentioned earlier in this discussion, institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF continuously force aid recipients to dismantle protectionism world wide.  The transition that had begun in the 1950s, after pressurefromthe US and OEEC interests, and that had started with OEEC directives on the removal of trade quotas was followed by a slow but consistent reduction in tariffs. Ireland's accession to the EEC in 1972, along with changes in the global division of labour (Folker, Heinrichs and Kreye, 1977) was the final push tofreetrade. The degree of foreign penetration was rapid in the late 1970s (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). In the electronics sector, 45 out of 72 TNC subsidiaries that opened before 1981, had "sweetheart" agreements with the ITGWU (Irish Transport and General Workers' Union); sole organizing rights in return for guarantees of labour peace, agreements that effectively neutralized any labour opposition to foreign penetration. The Irish government has, since, increasingly yielded to the pressures by international capital for non-unionization of sites, particularly in the electronics sector (Allen O'Hearn, 1988).  TNCs quickly came to dominate manufacturing investment such that by the 1980s, TNCs dominated Ireland's modern industrial sectors (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). In addition to the investment incentives outlined above (a young, educated workforce; a stable political environment; access to the European market), Ireland offers a very generous system of tax reliefs (low corporate tax rate, repatriation of profit, agreements to mitigate or avoid  -22-  the possibility of double taxation in the home country, patent royalty tax exemptions, tax exempt government securities and capital allowances and tax relief for expenditure on scientific research) and grants (non-repayable cash grants offered towards initial start-up costs, capital grants, employment grants, training grants and research and development capability grants (IDA, 1999).  The control of Irish development has been in US hands for many years (one would think we might have learned our lesson when it comes to the issue of absentee landlords). As Allen O'Hearn (1988) convincingly submits, Irish development policy has always been determined exogenously and has come about not simply because of the internal desire for modernization but as a result of international pressure and economic crisis. It resembles less an organized, cohesive development strategy than a simple marketing ploy to sell Ireland to the highest bidder.  Through a direct marketing program, Ireland is marketed abroad by the IDA and companies actively targetted. Industry is tracked, as is growth,financialperformance and innovation in product development. The IDA is clear about its role - to attract new industry, to create employment opportunities and to encourage the existing industrial base to develop, grow and expand. The IDA representative I spoke with submitted that he sees a major change in working conditions in foreign industry, compared with older Irish industries - clean, modern work environments that have heralded in dramatic changes in Ireland and that multinationals have improved national standards in terms of employment practices. He assured this writer that "sweatshops" will not be found in the technology based overseas sector in Ireland (Personal Communication, IDA, 1999).  -23-  IDA brochures aside, Allen O'Hearn (1988) argues (correctly) that TNC penetration has been accompanied, historically, by a severe lack of public discussion in Ireland. As he writes: "From its inception, the IDA performed its duties in an independent, almost secretive way" (182). The EDA has operated, in essence,freefromdemocratic scrutiny and has exercised central development decisions without parliamentary review (Allen O'Hearn, 1988).  It is important to understand that the IDA has operated within an aura of secrecy, claiming "the necessity of confidentiality for TNCs" for many years now (Allen O'Hearn, 1988:183). Little data was collected in the early days on TNCs. The IDA only began its annual employment survey of industry in 1973. Lack of supervision and bureaucratic red tape is a prime consideration of TNCs in making decisions about location. Tax reliefs and grants aside, one of the key elements of Ireland's incentive package is the lack of regulations and bureaucratic control (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). When the IDA courts foreign investment, it does not include in its evaluation, a company's environmental and or labour record in its home country. The assumption is that it is up to local Irish authorities to ensure that environmental and labour standards are complied with, bodies such as the Health and Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency (the latter established in 1993).  The Irish Freedom of Information Act, 1997  (effective April 21, 1998) established, amongst other statutory rights, the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals. The IDA is exempt (Personal Communication, IDA, 1999).  Further, Allen O'Hearn argues that TNCs have added very little to Irish development -24-  with respect to the transfer of capital and that, in fact, because of the massive repatriation of profit, they have tended to decapitalize Ireland. Foreignfirmsenjoy an extremely high level of profitability, yet there is little evidence to suggest that this profit is reinvested in Ireland. How the surplus is used (or not in this case) is at the heart of capitalist economics. Firms that located in Ireland prior to 1982 paid zero percent tax on profits from exports. The rate changed to 10% in 1982 but with additional relief such as capital grants, tax depreciation allowances and tax and related leasing schemes, in practicality the rate essentially remains at zero (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). In 1983, for example, TNC profits in manufacturing were 732.5 million punts. Ninety percent of this was repatriated (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). In 1998, total sales by IDA backed companies was 22.6 billion punts. The cost per job to the IDA was 11,462 punts (IDA, 1998). The TNC presence comes at a high cost to the Irish exchequer and to the Irish populace. As Allen O'Hearn (1988) writes: "If, as a result of profit-repatriation, there is any tendency toward equality of incomes which remain in Ireland, it is an equality of poverty rather than of affluence" (480).  The costs are even higher when one considers the damage (both realized and potential) to the Irish social fabric. As Harvey (1996) writes: "Capital is a process and not a thing. It is a process of reproduction of social life through commodity production, in which all of us in the advanced capitalist world are heavily implicated. Its internalized rules of operation are such as to ensure that it is a dynamic and revolutionary mode of social organization, restlessly and ceaselessly transforming the society within which it is embedded. The process masks and fetishizes, achieves growth through creative destruction, creates new wants and needs, exploits the capacity for human labour and desire, transforms spaces, and speeds up the pace of life. It produces problems of overaccumulation for which there are but a limited number of possible solutions" (343). -25-  Modernization worldwide has not come cheaply and its greatest costs are exacted in the social or cultural spheres (Galtung, 1996): anomie or culturelessness; the commodification of people and relationships; atomism; possessive individualism; social disintegration; negative social development; increased removal of the need for social interaction creating societies of isolates; shallow, superficial social relations and what Galtung (1996) terms economism: a focus on material/somatic satisfaction through goods and services; a focus on the human individual as the unit to be satisfied; and a focus on cost-benefit analysis to guide individual choices. As Galtung (1996) writes: "With structural and cultural ties being dissolved, we are in the - some would say absurd situation that the most modern and economically/technically developed have become, socially-speaking, perhaps the least developed or "de-developed" (422).  Ah yes, and let's not forget that spectacular 9% increase in Irish GDP in the years 1993-1999; the almighty GDP. Economic reports by national governments and by organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF, are based on national account statistics, central amongst which is the GDP (gross domestic product). It is erroneously highlighted as a key indicator of a country's economic health; erroneous because the figure, in and of itself, says absolutely nothing about the distribution of wealth and/or income in a given economy. Furthermore, the statistic is based on an incomplete and fallacious accounting of productivity (Waring, 1998). In the traditional economic model, what is marketed or processed for the market "counts" - "Resources are mined, skies are polluted, forests are devastated, watercourses are turned into open sewers and drains, whole populations are relocated as valleys arefloodedand dammed and labour is exploited in chronically inhumane working conditions. The statistics record economic  -26-  growth" (Waring: 199832). Household activities and subsistence agriculture are generally excludedfromeconomic measurement. Growthfiguresonly register market activities. In the official definitions of productive work, much of the work that is done by women, worldwide, is invisible. Women do not count (Waring, 1998).  Nor, apparently, do the social costs women bear because of modernization.  -27-  CHAPTER THREE GENDER AND D E V E L O P M E N T  Export-led development strategies, in the post-war period, have been adopted by countries as varied as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, with varied national development and implementation strategies, yet with one common result - the creation in each and every instance of a gender-segregated labour market. Women play a key role in this development strategy, particularly when one considers their participation in the electronics' sector. The very fact "that the electronics industry is largely an employer of women underscores the importance of gender as a factor implicated in the restructuring of production (Fernandez-Kelly and Garcia, 1988:57).  As indicated earlier in this paper, electronics production is labour intensive. Employers worldwide discriminate in favour of hiring women. Much of the research on women in electronics was conducted during the 1980s. In 1988, more than three million women were said to work in electronics production in less developed countries (Fernandez-Kelly and Garcia, 1988). In the early 1980's, over 300,000 women in Southeast Asia earned their living in the electronics industry (North-South Institute (1988) citing a March, 1983 ICFTU statistic). Fuentes and Ehrenreich in 1989 wrote that infree-tradezones, some 80 to 90 percent of light assembly workers were women. Kosak in 1982 claimed that in mostfreetrade zones, over 70 percent of workers employed were women. This figure stood at 85 percent in the Mexican maquiladoras and 75 percent in export industries in the Republic of Korea;figuresKosak (1982) suggested were practically the same for nearly all export processing zones. Americanfirmsalone were found to employ over  -28-  half a million workers in the industry world wide. Over 90 percent of these production workers and close to 100 percent of these assemblers were women (Kosak, 1982). Fernandez-Kelly in 1983 found 85 percent of those working on the Mexican border in export manufacturing plants to be women. Overall, it would appear that traditionally some 75 to 90 percent of assembly and production workers in the electronics industry worldwide have been women.  UNIFEM's biennial report, Progress of the World's Women (2000V analyzes the progress of women worldwide in the context of globalizationfromthe mid 1980s, through the late 1990s. The report concentrates on the economic aspects of gender inequality and found, as expected, that women have had different experiences of globalization. Trade liberalization appears to offer opportunity for professional women but for poor women worldwide, globalization tends to intensify existing inequalities. Understanding women's share of paid employment in industry and services and the compensation (or wage) received for such is critical for "the way in which a woman gets her daily bread (or bowl of rice or beans or maize porridge) is influenced by and influences other aspects of her life" (UNTFEM, 2000:4). Paid employment puts money in women's hands. Economic autonomy integrally influences women's ability to fully enjoy a broad range of human rights (UNTEEM, 2000).  In the late 1990s, women's share of paid employment in industry and services ranged from a high of 54% in Ukraine and Latvia, to a low of 5% in Chad in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNTFEM, 2000). With the exception of parts of Eastern Europe, women's share increased in most regionsfromthe mid 1980s to the late 1990s (UNTFEM, 2000).  -29-  Between 1980 and 1996, the percentage of women participating in the labour force in all APEC countries increased between 2% and 5%. Women workers comprise between 32 and 46% of the labour force in the different economies (UNIFEM East and South East Asia, 1998). In Asia and the South Pacific in 2000, the female share of paid employment in industry and services in, for example, Thailand rose 3% to 45%, was up 4% in Singapore to 44%, 2% in China to 38% and up 4% in Malaysia to 36% (UNIFEM East and South East Asia, 1998.). Women workers continue to dominate the export sector. During the 1990s, women accounted for 70-80 percent of the labour force in Malaysian export industries (UNIFEM East and South East Asia, 1998 citing the Journal of International Economic Studies, 1998). In East and Southeast Asia, women account for more than 80% of the work force in the export zones (UNIFEM East and Southeast Asia, 1998, citing 1995 ILO statistics).  Female workers in export-oriented industries have typically been young, single, childless, new entrants to the labour-market. In South Korea, in the Mazan zone, 80 percent of workers in electronics companies were between the ages of 14 and 24. By the time they turned 30, few were still employed (North-South Institute, 1988). Safa (1990) suggests that in export-manufacturing worldwide, 85 percent of women workers are under the age of 25. Kosak in 1982 claimed that roughly one-third of the Republic of Korea's total industrial workforce were comprised of young women aged 16 to 25. The cheapest labour source in electronics, according to Daza Sampa (1997) is young high school graduates, still living at home, who do not have access to alternate employment. The pattern is one which facilitates increased employment of women for only a short phase of  -30-  the life cycle, the same cycle which has led in many cases to the creation of "floating" reserve armies of labour (Ong, 1983). The restructuring of the global economy has created a new international division of labour, characterized by a demand for women workers, and in many instances, a growing feminization of the labour force (Rios, 1990).  Although the evidence suggests that women's share of paid employment in industry and services increased in most regions through the 1990s, the quality of employment did not increase. Overall, jobs for women are accompanied by less social protection and employment rights than men's jobs (UNTJFEM, 2000). The paradox, as pointed out by writers for the North-South Institute (1988) is that the electronics industry, known as a high-technologyfield,is said to increase women's opportunities to enter into non-traditionalfields.The reality is that women are primarily occupied in the production end - producing and assembling electronic components - in work that is low skilled, labour intensive, monotonous, poorly paid and which lacks mobility.  L  Dual Labour Market  In all societies there is a sexual division of labour. In the vast majority of developed and developing nations alike, labour market structures are segmented according to gender; that is, the extent to which men and women are structurally and differentially located. Generally speaking, women almost always tend to occupy secondary and inferior positions in capitalist labour markets. That is, women almost always form the lowest paid sector. As Rios (1990) argues "low-paid women are the key to the survival of...highly competitive industries in the new global economy"(328).  Electronics production is highly-stratified work. For the most part, direct production -31 -  workers are women, while professional men occupy specialized occupations (Fernandez Kelly and Garcia, 1988). In the United States, married women have created the reserve army in the production end of the electronics industry (Green, 1983). Many are immigrants (SCCOSH, 1996). In the Irish electronics industry, circuit board assembly is predominantly carried out by women. Men are typically employed in a supervisory capacity. Lynch (1993), citing an industry survey conducted by Wickham and Murray in 1987 for the Irish Employment Equality Agency, suggests that in 1984, 74 percent of operatives were women, while only 3 percent of managerial staff were. Honkasalo (1982), in her study of a Finnish electronics plant, found that jobs accorded to women in electronics assembly required little training and involved speed, dexterity, endurance and accuracy. Men, on the other hand, were trained to do repair, maintenance and component testing work. Honkasalo (1982) writes: "in comparison to men's jobs, there [is] low prestige and low appreciation of the abilities required for women's jobs" (448).  In developing countries, in multinational industrial enterprises, wages for women are 25 to 50 percent lower than a comparable male wage. They are not enough usually to support a family (Safa, 1990). In some Asian countries, it has historically not been unusual for women workers to receive less than half the wages men have received (Kosak, 1982). In the Philippines, in the 1980s, women received 61.3 percent of male wages. Over 50 percent of women workers received less than minimum wage (Cheung, 1985). According to the ILO (1999-2001), in 1997, the statistic for female wages as a percentage of male wages in manufacturing in Malaysia was 58%, in Singapore 60%, in the Republic of Korea 56%, Thailand 68% and, in Mexico, 71%. Women in industry and services worldwide, according to UNIFEM (2000), typically earn 78% of what men do.  -32-  Thefiguresfor developing countries, by contrast, are considerably low.  Low wages for women in all countries, and, in particular low wages for young women, are justified on the basis of a mistaken assumption, rooted in a gendered ideology, that a married woman's place is in the home, that women's earnings are supplemental, temporary or transitional and that women do not support families. Many women live in societies in which, as Fuentes and Ehrenreich (1989) write of Mexico, a woman's "proper place" is considered to be "in the kitchen and in the bedroom" (32). Leung Wing Yeu (1985) relays the Confucian saying: "A woman should obey her father in her family, obey her husband in marriage, and obey her sons in old age" (72).  Such gendered ideologies are not uncommon.  2.  Women as Earners in Family Economies  Women's main incentive to take electronics production or assembly work in export-driven economies is the opportunity offered to contribute to family income. Daughters are often sent out to work to generate incomes that, due to the forces of modernization, have become necessary to supplement village household earnings (North-South Institute, 1988; Ong, 1983). As Henshall Momsen (1991) writes: "A new impoverishment of women has been brought about by the absorption into the market economy of much of the natural resources of land, water and timber on which family subsistence depended, without offering women a new means of support" (94).  In Southeast Asia, prior to industrialization, women were confined to the home but not in -33-  the sense that Westerners understand; that is, in terms of rearing children and doing housework. Women played significant roles in food production and in meeting family consumption needs. Such experience is often a factor cited in explanations for the preferential hiring of women infree-tradezones. It has been suggested that the attributes that make women attractive as employees include socially learned characteristics of traditional domesticity, high work quality and high production rates (Daza Samper, 1997). Taplin (1986) argues that preferential hiring of women in Southeast Asia is based on a combination of women's willingness to accept low wages with the following: a history of high economic activity by women, thus a ready absorption into industry, in home training for delicate forms of manual work, ability to respond to pressured, intensive labour and a willingness to co-operate with, and respect for, authority figures. Salaff (1990) identifies the emergence of family strategies in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore that operate in women's participation in waged economies. In all three countries, women are not driven by personal interest to work. Family strategies play a key part in defining women's work. These strategies have emerged from necessity, not individual desire. Women see themselves, and are seen, as earners in family economies. It is an important point. As Taplin (1986) writes: "The survival of the rural households depends on the cooperative aid networks that women establish...The respectful, cooperative, modest behaviour of the majority of Malayan females may be misinterpreted as docility and submissiveness"(189).  Women entered industry en masse in the 1960s, first as child labourers in sweatshops, moving later to assembly line work. Factory systems are known to rely upon and to attempt to manipulate patriarchal family patterns. From the perspective of industry,  -34-  paternalistic justifications for the preferential hiring of women are rampant.  3.  Preferential Hiring of Women - the Excuses of Industry  In the electronics industry, production is labour intensive, and productivity dependent upon control and supervision over assembly lines. Management are quick with excuses to justify sex selection in hiring. Excuses range from suggestions that, due to some form of innate femininity, women have better eyesight to notions that they exhibitfinerdegrees of handiwork and manual dexterity, have a natural capacity for detail, are more willing to comply with monotonous work regimes and are more docile (Lee, 1993; Fernandez Kelly and Garcia, 1988; Fernandez Kelly, 1983). Men are believed to be less patient and more likely to organize (Fernandez Kelly, 1983). Industry promotes prevailing ideology about men and women (Gallin, 1994) and relies on specific techniques to propagate this sexist ideology, such as the promotion of beauty contests and make-up classes for workers. Fuentes and Ehrenreich (1989): "Multinationals pit women against each other not only as workers, but also as sex objects, superimposing Western notions of femininity and consumerism upon local cultural stereotypes. Beauty contests are an integral part of factory life; with each company sending its own beauty queen to the yearly "Miss Free Trade Zone" contest. Bathing suit and "Guess-whose-legs-these-are" contests are also popular" (25). Multinationals prefer single, childless women. Potential employees are often given pregnancy tests to avoid the issue of benefits and in the Bataan Zone in the Philippines, the Mattel Toy Corporation has actually been known to offer prizes to women who undergo sterilization. In Peninsular Malaysia, factory clinics providefreecontraceptives and advice to married workers on family planning (Ong, 1983). In the Philippines,  -35-  women are often forced to comply with supervisors sexual demands - "Lay down or lay off' (Cheung, 1985). Kosak (1982) cites the following reasons offered by plant managers in Asia for their preference for hiring "young girls": "female workers are more suitable for delicate work because they are more industrious...obedient, dexter (sic) and patient, and have smaller fingers. They are less inclined to organize themselves in trade unions, and are prepared to accept exceptionally low wages" (31). Arrigo (1985) writes of the means by which American manufacturers in Taiwan use local martial law to coercively establish employment conditions. She recounts the answer of an electronics company personnel manager when asked his rationale for hiring women: "When rebuked, girls only cry a little, but boys may retaliate by throwing a little piece of metal into the equipment and ruining the whole thing"(80).  Women are advertised to investors in brochures. Fuentes and Ehrenreich (1989) write of the pimping role of Third World governments: "governments advertise their women, sell them and keep them in line for the multinational Johns" (37). The same authors quote an "Asian Government's investment brochure": "The manual dexterity of the oriental female is famous the world over. Her hands are small and she works fast with extreme care. Who, therefore, could be better qualified by nature and inheritance to contribute to the efficiency of a bench assembly line than the oriental girl?"(31).  Ong (1987) writes of such blatant Orientalism: "management seeks to control the women's self perception by talking about the 'natural' ability of 'oriental' women'sfingers,eyes and passivity to withstand...low-skilled, mind-deadening work. This reduction of the social -36-  person to an organism subordinated to technological instrumentality is no mere mystification. It constitutes everyday reality in the perception and treatment of workers...Microchip production has been defined as intrinsically 'feminine', women'sfingersand eyes coded as extensions of electronic instrumentality and women's' capabilities and subjectivities reduced to pure sexuality" (623). The same author goes on to say: "The Japanese director of a factory commented succinctly, 'Fresh, female labor, after some training, is highly efficient" and that "In Japanese-owned factories, corporate policies define women workers as virginal daughters who need managerial supervision" (623). A regional health and safety officer for the Irish Health and Safety Authority relayed to this writer a comment made by an Irish electronics' company manager on their preference for hiring women: "Do you know why we hire women" he had allegedly asked. And the answer? "Women have higher boredom thresholds" (Personal Communication, HSA, 1999).  However, a focus on the putative innate abilities of women (smallfingers,good eyesight and high boredom thresholds aside) does not account for the structural, differential location of men and women in capitalist labour markets, for the fact that women are paid less, employed in the lower echelons on an often temporary basis and treated as disposable commodities to be kept in line by sexist, production driven management. The simple fact remains that should men be employed in similar positions, they would demand better pay, better working conditions and better work schedules which would only result in an increase in labour costs and a decrease in shareholder profit (Fernandez Kelly, 1983).  There is clearly a need to understand the role of gender in development.  -37-  4.  Development Theory - Ahem! And What About Gender?  Development theories have traditionally been "gender blind" and have paid "only peripheral attention to half the human race (Blumberg, 1989:161). Women play critical roles in world economies. Traditional development theories ignore not only the maldistribution of resources between women and men but areframedin what Glasberg (1991) calls "gender neutral terminology" whereby terms such as gross national product, gross domestic product, etc. "ignore activities that reproduce and sustain human resources - work primarily performed by women in both developed and underdeveloped countries" (614). Economic development strategies have intended and unintended consequences that are certainly not gender-neutral (Rios, 1990). Ironically, the same mechanisms that are used by industrialized countries to oppress developing countries are also often used by men to oppress women. Both modernization and underdevelopment theories historically are guilty of omitting gender as a factor of analysis worthy of attention (Brock-Utne, (1980).  Modernization theorists argue, as traditional forms of social organization and value systems are replaced by "modern" ones, in a gender neutral manner, that women will benefit more than menfromdevelopment because their positions were even more constrained in traditional societies. There is an assumption inherent to this claim that "equality for women will occur due to enlightenment" (Pyle, 1990:3), that natural competitive forces, in and of themselves, will eradicate discrimination. Modernists blame pre-capitalist or feudal practices for the oppression of women, for social oppression in general (Ong, 1987).  Marxist theory is no less guilty, and in its focus on production relations, simply assumes -38-  the incorporation of women into a waged economy. Pyle (1990) citing Engels (1942/1972) writes: the "emancipation of women will only be possible when women can take part in production on a large, social scale, and domestic work no longer claims anything but an insignificant amount of her (sic) time" (4). Changes in the global organization of production have certainly affected women's participation in waged economies but a focus on such factors alone is inadequate in explaining the preferential hiring of women in labour-intensive industry. Simply adding women workers into industrial production theories ignores the functioning of gender as a theoretical construct (Fernandez Kelly, 1983) and does not tell us why women, in particular, have been singled out (Green, 1983). Marxist theories of capitalist development do not explain the existence of a dual labour market based on sex. As Honkasalo (1982) writes: "The segregation in the labour market was not created by capitalism alone but, in addition, by the patriarchal system" (446). Ong (1983), on the matter, writes:  "although the multinational does take advantage of national and sexual wage differentials and sometimes reinforces them, it is not responsible for creating them and cannot by its own actions eliminate them. National wage differentials are the result of differences in the development of capitalist relations of production between nations, whereas sex wage differentials originate in indigenous patriarchy"(85).  The roles that women play in international production systems (that is, the creation of goods and services) cannot be understood without a parallel analysis of the roles women occupy in social reproduction (that is, the reproduction of the labour force) and the dialectical relationship that exists between the two spheres - that is a dialectic between capitalism and patriarchy. Capitalism reinforces patriarchal reproduction relations. Patriarchy reinforces capitalist relations of production (Bandarage, 1984). -39-  Poverty is not an aberration under capitalism, but a symptom of an exploitative system in which profit for the few is put before the human needs of the majority. In this system, women's performance in the lower echelons of the labour force is functional for capitalism in that it minimizes labour costs and increases profit. Conversely, the cheapness of women's labour is rooted in their assumed role in the family (Green, 1983). The origin of sex segregated occupations lies both with male domination in the economic sphere and economic dependence within the family. The assumption in patriarchal systems is that women have either husbands or fathers to provide for them. This is a fundamental and simple reason why women constitute a disposable work force (Green, 1983). As Safa (1990) writes:  "Women are a more vulnerable labour force than men because they are still primarily defined in terms of their domestic role and, therefore, not given full legitimacy as workers" (76).  Docility is neither a biological nor cultural condition. It is typically an assumed stance. Women have acute economic needs and waged work is critical to the survival of female-headed households. In export-processing zones, the requirements of capital preys upon established relations of domination and exploitation between the sexes in the same manner as it preys upon established relations among and between races and nations. Capitalism has, almost without exception, manipulated and benefited from the patterns associated with patriarchal systems in the majority offree-tradezones. As Harvey (1990) writes: "Capitalism did not invent 'the other' but it certainly made use of and promoted it in highly structured ways" (104). Multinational companies have certainly made use of and promoted the use of patriarchal assumptions in Ireland.  -40-  CHAPTER FOUR T H E PATRIARCHAL TRTSH STATE  Irish women have traditionally been subjected to severe forms of social control, which, to a large degree, in this island nation,findsits roots in the historical concentration of power in the hands of men. Patriarchal domination, propagated in large part by the Holy Roman Catholic Church which, until recently, has occupied a position of unquestioned authority and which as Smyth (1995:32) writes "dictated how and what people should think (and whether they should think at all)" permeates Irish economic, legal and political systems. Ursula Barry (1988) writes of the role of the Church: "Pulpits, right across the country, serve as powerful political platforms, used to bolster a narrow and rigid ideology concerning women: compulsory motherhood, guilt ridden sexuality, opposition to birth control, self-sacrifice and economic dependence"(315).  Control rests on a prevailing ideology thatfirmlyplants women in the home, responsible primarily to and for marriage and family, an ideology that is visible in a wide array of repressive social legislation,fromreproductive rights to family and social welfare entitlements to labour policy and legislation. An important starting point for an examination of this ideology is the Irish Constitution.  L  The Irish Constitution  A constitution, as Connelly (1993:4) writes, "typically sets forth the basic principles and structure of government of a country and says something about the fundamental rights of the citizen". It also, by the same writer, "enunciates values to which people subscribe". The Irish Constitution, enacted in 1937, enunciates very clearly a value based position on  -41-  women. The Constitution provides the context for the development of social policy. According to Article 41, "The Family": 41 1. The State recognizes the Family as the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights antecedent and superior to all positive law. 2. The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State. 42 1. In particular, the State recognizes that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. 2. The State, shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home. (In Pyle, 1990) Social roles for men and women are clearly allocated in a manner whereby the Constitution "envisages a married couple with children where the wife works in the home looking after the children and the husband works outside the home earning a living for the family" (Connelly, 1993:23). There is no role for "father" in achieving this "common good" (Connelly, 1993). Women are simply andfirmlycast primarily in the role of child rearing and the appropriate arena for such, within the institution of marriage, a consequence which often results on femalefinancialdependence on males given that work within the home is not remunerated. This assumption of female financial dependence is a cornerstone upon which both the Irish social welfare and taxation systems have been founded. For example, historically, married Irish women have been entitled to lesser social welfare benefits than either married men, single men or single  -42-  women. It was only the application of European law in 1984 that provoked an amendment of such in respect of unemployment benefits. Family benefits remain unamended (Connelly, 1993).  The ideology is one which Connelly (1993) refers to as an "Adam's Rib" mentality, whereby women, cast in the roles of wife and mother, are not treated as autonomous persons but simply as appendages of their husbands. Work for women within the home and work outside the home are cast as a juxtaposition in terms and the expectation is clear that for the sake of the "common good", women shall not neglect their duties in the home for the sake of work outside. In essence, the Constitution and consequent social welfare provisions have functioned to institutionalize the economic dependence of women on men. Moreover, as Connelly (1993) writes of Article 41: "Despite the fact that many mothers are driven by economic circumstances to work outside the home, the potential of this Article for grounding a claim by a mother tofinancialassistancefromthe State has not been explored"(18). It is not likely to be explored in such a manner in the near future but it is heartening to think, as Lynch (1993:52) suggests, that "the constitutional mandate, although often seen as a threat, could potentially be used in a very radical way to oblige the State to provide adequately for women who choose to work at home, and thus to give economic and social independence to such women".  Geraldine Moane (1996) explores the legacies of colonialism for Irish womenfromthe framework of feminist social psychology. The writer develops her analysis of colonialism by drawing on similarities between Jean Baker Miller's analyses of the psychology of women who have been subjected to subordination and Frantz Fanon and  -43-  Albert Memmi's analyses of the psychology of the colonized. She identifies both patriarchy and colonialism as two systems of domination. Systems of domination are maintained through control mechanisms that involve systemic control of symbolic, political and cultural arenas, the functioning of which assumes such subtle nuances as to appear "natural" to both superordinate and subordinate. Sartre, in his introduction to Memmi's (1965) The Colonizer and the Colonized writes "oppression justifies itself through oppression" (xxvi). Both parties to the relationship believe that each is deserving of their occupied position (Moane, 1996).  Moane (1996) posits six control mechanisms that characterize systems of domination violence, economic exploitation, sexual exploitation, exclusionfrompower, control of ideology and representation andfragmentation,and drawing on the work of Fanon and Memmi, identifies,fromanalyses of colonization, psychological patterns that develop within systems of domination. For the dominated, psychological patterns such as fear, dependency, a sense of inferiority, learned helplessness and hopelessness, a loss of identity, psychological constriction and vulnerability to distress develop. Those that dominate often develop patterns of dehumanization, anger, alienation, arrogance and an unwillingness to admit vulnerability. In patriarchal systems, to the general degree that men assume the position of superordinate and women that of subordinate, each will develop an associated psychological patterning. Drawing further on Jean Baker Miller's work, Moane (1996) suggests, however, that in addition to these patterns certain psychological strengths can be developed through resisting colonization - strengths such as a sense of solidarity, courage, empathy and a capacity for co-operation. The combination of colonialism and patriarchy thus leads either to the double oppression of  -44-  women or provides an opportunity to develop strengths due to resistance. Moane (1996) suggests, despite no lack of evidence as to the high levels of male domination in Ireland, that Irish women have actually gained psychological strengthsfromtheir history of resistance. It is a point I will return to later in the discussion.  2.  Export-Led Development and the Patriarchal Irish State  Interestingly, even as Ireland pursued an export-led development policy, a policy that, as I have demonstrated earlier, led in many instances to a growing feminization of the labour force, Pyle (1990) demonstrates the extent to which members of the Irish government, with personally vested commitments to traditionally gendered relations, attempted to promote, both in official and unofficial terms, employment for men. As Pyle (1990:10) writes: "state personnel can have objectives in addition to that of economic growth. Elected legislators in Ireland were concerned with maintaining traditional relationships between the sexes as well as spurring the development process; they formulated government policies that sought to achieve both objectives".  While on one hand, the Irish government attempted to promote economic growth, measures were also taken to preserve traditional familial relations, measures that ranged from the formulation of official promotional strategies to attractfirmsspecifying male employment; to unofficial yet discretionary preference for companies that proposed to hire more men; to protective legislation to restrict women's access to industrial work - a ban on night work for women and a weight lifting provision that prohibited women from lifting weights over a certain measure and which effectively precluded women from particular job categories (Pyle, 1990). Despite such initiatives, however, electronics  -45-  multinationals didfindin Ireland a certain group of women eager to participate in assembly work.  3.  Women in the Trish Workforce  The ethos of dependency and assumption of family responsibility are key factors that have shaped women's experience in the Irish labour market. Although there appears to be a dearth of material about women in the Irish labour market, a 1991 study by Callen and Farrell for the Irish National Economic and Social Council presents some key findings. The authors found evidence to suggest high and persistent levels of occupational segregation between men and women with most part-time work occupied by married women. In 1987, women accounted for 31% of the labour force, 40% of which women were married. The labour force participation rate of married women rose from 5.7% in 1961 to 24% in 1990, a significant increase yet a rate that is still lower than in most developed countries. Participation rates of married women tend to decline with age, a decline that is associated with women's withdrawalfromthe workplace following the birth of children. Further, mothers of young children were found to be significantly less likely to be in the labour force. Lynch (1993) suggests that in 1990, the female average industrial wage in Ireland stood at 59% of the male average industrial wage. Bandon (1995) citing a 1995 Report of the Employment Equality Agency suggested that in 1995, thefigurestood at 71.4%. Although increasing, it is significantly lower than the rate earned by men and the presence of women, particularly married women, in the paid workplace, is statistically low. Statistics on women in the electronics industry were not available. The Cork representative for SIPTU's women's committee informed this writer that the union does not compile male.female industry ratios. She submitted simply that  -46-  "a worker is a worker" and she did not, herself, see any value in compiling statistics according to gender (Personal Communication, STPTU, 1999).  In Ireland, equal pay legislation has been in force for over twenty years. Three main Anti-Discrimination Acts are in existence. The Employment Equality Act 1977; The Anti-Discrimination (Pay) Act 1974; and the Maternity (Protection of Employees) Act 1987. It was only in 1973, that the Civil Service (Employment of Married Women) Act was passed, an Act that removed the ban on married women working in the Irish civil service. It is worth noting that the impetus for these Anti-Discrimination Acts came not from the Irish populace but were mandated due to Irish membership in the then EEC (Lynch, 1993). Such legislation is typically ineffective in narrowing the wage gap due to the fact that the differential arises because men and women are usually segregated into different, and thus differentially valued, occupations. Given that women primarily assume full responsibility for child rearing, focusing only on labour market policies is totally ineffective if women are not tangentially supported in their roles as mothers and caregivers. Anti-discrimination legislation aside, discriminatory pay structures persist in Ireland and, by all accounts, industry has gone to great measures to deny discrimination (Lynch, 1993).  4,  Patriarchal Capitalism  The electronics industry is located in Ireland, as it is in a variety of other countries, for a number of clear and very simple reasons. The Irish workforce is well educated and disciplined and the Republic of Ireland a politically stable country. The Irish government, as committed as it has proven itself to be to export-led development, has vigorously  -47-  pursued a transnational presence in Ireland through the provision of lucrative tax incentives and lax environmental controls. Additionally, electronics production is labour intensive work. In capitalist markets, success is dependent upon companies' abilities to maintain a competitive edge. The lower the labour costs, the higher the profit. Industry goes where labour is cheap, expendable and easily controlled. History has shown that often one of the cheapest and most expendable labour sources is women. This is a fact that is certainly evident in the electronics industry globally. The presence of the electronics industry in many developing countries has resulted in the emergence of a new international division of labour and, in most instances, a growing feminization of the labour force. Industry has capitalized on strong patriarchal attitudes in many countries to justify a gender segregated and highly stratified production process, with women primarily cast into low-waged, repetitive, hazardous work. Ireland is not exceptional in this regard.  As demonstrated, Irish women have been subjected to their own particular history of patriarchal control, planted in the Constitution and woven throughout a wide array of repressive social legislation. It is a control dependent on a clear ideological stance that the natural roles for women are as mother and wife, of the most suitable venue for such within the institution of marriage and of the most appropriate arrangement of this through women'sfinancialdependence on men. It is an ethos of dependency that has traditionally led to low labour force participation rates for women and an industry mindset that justifies poor pay, protection and promotion for Irish women workers.  However, despite the prevailing ideology, a certain class of Irish women have always  -48-  participated in a waged economy. This is an historical fact. This has not been out of any great desire for "personal growth" or self-fulfillment, but out of simple and often dire necessity. Irish women have worked in the domestic textiles and butter industries, in spinning, as washerwomen, charwomen and street sellers, and running public houses, grocery shops and retail businesses. They have taken in, at home, industrial work and domestic work and have cared for lodgers. And, as Daly (1981:76) writes:  "while many women, married and unmarried, contributed substantially to family income, such involvement did not bring any increased status. An income earning wife was acceptable only to those who laboured on farms and to members of the lower working class. In general, women who made their own way, who participated in waged work, who had failed tofindand keep a suitable husband, were slotted into the lowest social echelons. Because prosperous middle and upper class women very consciously neither contributed to family income, nor to household chores, the role of women who worked, particularly those who earned an income, tended to be downgraded and the woman of leisure, who devoted herself to accomplishments, or failing that a full-time home-maker, became the ideal for many".  Many Irish women do not have access to higher education or to challenging careers. Many work, not simply for personal fulfillment, but either to supplement or to fully provide family incomes. I would ask, in the wealth of writings on women in the peace process, on social issues such as divorce and abortion, in the beauty of Irish women's poetry and literature, in the depth of their reflection on Irish spirituality, where has Irish feminism been in representing the interests of working class Irish women? It is women who work due to the pressure of necessity both for themselves and for their children, and who do not have alternate opportunities, who will take work at lower wages, who will endure monotonous and hazardous work and who are least likely to agitate for either  -49-  better pay or better working conditions. It is not only women but working class women in the electronics industry in Ireland who are an expendable and cheap source of labour. It is working class women in Ireland whose work, due to prevailing patriarchal notions of the rightful role for women, are neither accorded legitimization nor protection by the Irish state. It is working class women who carry the brunt of the social costs associated with electronics assembly work. Perhaps the greatest of these costs are those that are exacted on women's health.  -50-  CHAPTER FIVE ELECTRONICS PRODUCTION AND ASSEMBLY - H E A L T H HAZARDS  It is difficult to characterize the electronics industry given the existing multiplicity and variety of products and production processes. No two manufacturing settings are the same (LaDou and Rohm, 1998). However, it is worth noting that the manufacture of every electronic product depends on a complex series of chemical processes. The electronics production line, in general, can be conceptualized as a series offivemajor processes - semiconductor fabrication, semiconductor assembly, printed circuit board fabrication, printed circuit board assembly andfinalproduct assembly. Each of these five processes require production and assembly workers to clean, bond, solder, etch and plate using a wide range of chemicals (Gassert, 1985 (a)). Silicon is the primary material utilized in the construction of integrated circuits. Solders andfluxesare used extensively in thefinalstages of the manufacturing process (LaDou and Rohm, 1998). Microelectronics has been classified as a "light" manufacturing industry and has been promoted worldwide as a putatively "clean" industry. The industry, however, is far from "clean". It is the most chemically intensive industry ever conceived (LaDou and Rohm, 1998). Globally, on a daily, basis, the electronics' industry utilizes thousands of different chemical compounds along its various production lines (Gassert, 1985 (a)).  It is estimated that anywhere up to 1,000 new chemicals are produced each year for use on the world market. Electronics' companies use chemicals for cleaning more than for any other purpose. Some form of cleaning takes place in nearly every aspect of electronics manufacture. Most cleaning chemicals (solvents, acids, alkalis) have not been tested properly to determine their long term health effects. Further, there is very little  -51-  evidence about the synergistic effects of chemicals - that is, the health effects of exposure to one or more chemicals simultaneously. Synergistic exposure is very common in electronics' production. It is the cumulative and synergistic effects of chemical exposure which provide cause for the greatest concern (Gassert, 1985 (a)). Comprehensive health impacts are simply not known.  Human exposure to chemicals can be both external and internal, usually through one of three forms: contact, ingestion or inhalation. The production of semiconductors and printed circuit boards use particularly hazardous materials - chlorinated and brominated substances, toxic gases, toxic metals, photo-active and biologically-active materials, acids, plastics and plastic additives. In computer components, the list of toxic materials includes lead and cadmium in computer circuit boards, lead oxide and barium in computer monitor's cathode ray tubes, mercury in switches andflatscreens and brominatedflameretardants on printed circuit boards, cables and plastic casing (SVTC, 2001). Because of the reactivity of the acids and bases used in soldering with human body tissue, there can be an immediate dehydration of the cells in whatever part of the body forms thefirstcontact - skin, eyes, nose, throat, windpipe, or lungs. This can lead to long-term scarring of the lungs and breathing passages. Chronic effects are most difficult to prove. Low exposure over a sustained period of time to chemicals which are not easily excreted is deadly (Gassert, 1985 (a)).  The problem of establishing the health hazards associated with exposure to chemicals in electronics' production is compounded by what has amounted to an almost world wide proliferation in the use of toxic chemicals, the majority of which have entered daily use  -52-  without adequate testing to establish their adverse effects and without enforcement of adequate safety regulations to ensure their proper and safe use (Gassert, 1985(a)). The vast majority of the synthetic chemicals in regular use in industry today did not exist a mere 40 years ago (Gassert, 1985(a)). Moreover, as mentioned previously, approximately 1,000 new substances continue to enter regular marketplace use each year (Gassert, 1985(a)). In the United States alone, thirty percent (30%) of cancer deaths are caused by work-related exposure to toxic chemicals (Gassert, 1985(a)).  The United Nations estimated in 1985 that it would take about 80 years to undertake adequate testing to determine the health hazards of about some 50,000 chemicals in common use then (Gassert, 1985(a)). There are currently some 90,000 chemicals in common industrial use in the United States. Less than 5% of these chemicals are regulated (SCCOSH, 1998). Many of these chemicals are known or suspected carcinogens or mutagens and to scientifically establish side effects would necessitate rigorous study. The increase in chemical production has been much faster than our understanding of the relationship between chemical exposure and chemically-induced illness (Gassert, 1985(a)). This dilemma is compounded by the proven lack of both political and social will in many cases to regulate and enforce the existing guidelines on the use of chemicals and the tendency for the electronics industry to shroud itself in a veil of industrial secrecy (product protection) to justify non-disclosure of chemicals in current use.  The mid 1970s through the 1980s saw heightened efforts in California to document and expose the hazardous practices of the electronics industry. The rate of occupational  -53-  illness is consistently higher for electronics workers than workers in any other manufacturing sector (LaDou and Rohm, 1998). Industry at large has, despite evidence to the contrary, consistently rejected any links between working conditions and health problems. By the 1980s, toxicological data documented that glycol-ether containing products used in production caused blood abnormalities and testicular damage. In 1982, organic solvents showed up in drinking water in a San Jose neighbourhood near both the Fairchild and IBM manufacturing activities. Epidemiological studies have linked exposure to organic solvents with breast, brain and ovarian cancer, miscarriages, birth defects and developmental delays. Many potentially fetotoxic chemicals are used in microelectronics. The rate of breast cancer in the Bay Area is the highest in the world. In 1984, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics demonstrated that workers in the semiconductor industry experienced respiratory difficulties at a rate of 3-5 times higher than workers in other manufacturing sectors. In 1985, a study identified birth defects at a rate 3 times higher in the area near the Fairchild Plant where groundwater had been contaminated. Three separate studies on miscarriages (at DEC, IBM and an industry-wide study sponsored by the Semiconductor Industry Association) in the mid 1980s all reported an increased incidence of miscarriage rates among women employed in chemical handling activities (SVTC, 2001 (b)). Ethylene-based glycol ethers have been associated with reproductive toxicity in animals since 1981 (SVTC, 2001 (c)).  In 1992,  an industry sponsored study reported a 40% higher rate of miscarriages among chip workers exposed to ethylene-based glycol ethers. In 1998, a cancer cluster was reported at IBM in Silicon Valley. In 1998, women workers at a National Semiconductor Factory in Scotland reported breast, uterine and cervical cancer that they believe is work related. There have been numerous lawsuitsfiledby workers in the US covering cancer claims,  -54-  notably cervical, uterine, breast, brain, lung and testicular cancer. Industry has, consistently, refused access to allow large scale studies to be conducted. It is well known that environmentally caused cancer often develops many years after an initial exposure. Although there are many American companies that are large enough to conduct cancer epidemiology studies, no retrospective cancer study has ever been conducted to date. Despite the growing number of litigants with cancer, there does not appear to be any plan for prospective studies of cancer (LaDou and Rohm, 1998). Toxicological workplace information is crucial, but it is often difficult to obtain. The Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health (SCCOSH) has consistently proposed to link information in state based disease registries in California with company data to identify the incident rate for cancer and birth defects among California electronics workers. Tim Morin of Intel responded to the proposal: "To participate in a project like this would be like giving discovery to plaintiffs. I might as well take a gun and shoot myself (SCCOSH, 1998:13). Instead of working collaboratively and establishing information systems that would have allowed researchers to identify patterns of disease among electronics workers, the industry was simply exported to other areas of the world...  ...into the open arms of Ireland's IDA.  -55-  CHAPTER SIX IRISH OCCUPATIONAL H E A L T H AND SAFETY LEGISLATION 1.  Safety. Health and Welfare at Work Act. 1989  The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 (the "Act") makes general provision for serving the safety, health and welfare of persons at work in Ireland. The Act is supplemented by a variety of Regulations. In addition to the General Regulations (Safety, Health and Welfare at Work General Application), 1993, ("General Regulations"), there are three statutory instruments that provide workplace protection for women in the electronics industry: 1.  Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Carcinogens) Regulations, 1993 ("Carcinogens Regulations");  2.  Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations, 1994 ("Chemical Agents Regulations"); and  3.  Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations, 1994 ("Pregnant Employees Regulations").  The following areas, provided for by the above-referenced Act and Regulations, are of particular relevance:  (a)  General Duties of Employers to their Employees  The general responsibilities of employers to employees for workplace health and safety are outlined in Part II, Section 6, "General Duties" of the Act. Employers have a general duty to provide a physically safe work environment:  -56-  "as regards any place of work under the employer's control, the design, the provision and the maintenance of it in a condition that is, so far as is reasonably, practicable, safe and without risk to health" 6(2)(a).  (h)  Personal Protective Equipment  Under general duties, 6(2)(f), employers are required, wherever possible, to eliminate workplace hazards at source. Where such elimination is not possible, the requirement is that they be kept at a controlled minimum and employees provided with suitable protective clothing or equipment: "in circumstances in which it is not reasonably practicable for an employer to control or eliminate hazards in a place of work under his control, or in such circumstances as may be prescribed, the provision and maintenance of such suitable protective clothing or equipment, as appropriate, that are necessary to ensure the safety and health at work of his employees".  Part V of the General Regulations outlines the assessment, conditions of use and compatibility of personal protective equipment ("p.p.e."). In addition to the provision of p.p.e., an employer is responsible for ensuring that an employee be provided with training and instruction on the proper use of such equipment. Specifically, an employer shall:  "(a) inform the employee of the risks against which the wearing of the equipment protects him, (b) provide the employee at the place of work with adequate information on the personal protective equipment provided, (c) provide the employee with instruction on the use of such personal protective equipment, and (d) arrange for training, and if appropriate, organize demonstrations in the wearing of such equipment" (Section 26).  -57-  (c)  Information, Training and Instruction  An employer must provide information and training and consult with employees on matters of health and safety in the workplace. Part 6(2)(e) of the Acl states that an employer's general duty extends to include: "the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety and health at work of his employees". Regarding the provision of information, this information must include known workplace safety and health risks and both the preventive and protective measures to be taken pursuant to the Regulations. The employer is obliged to prepare a safety statement identifying workplace hazards, assessing the risks to safety and health and outlining the manner in which workers' health, safety and welfare will be safeguarded. Additionally, employees have the right to appoint a safety representative to represent them in consultations on health and safety with their employer. An employer has a duty to consult with employees (at the very least through the safety representative) on the development and maintenance of workplace health and safety initiatives.  An employer is, likewise, bound to provide training and instruction to employees on matters of health and safety. Specifically, the General Regulations, Part II, Section 13 (1) state: "It shall be the duty of every employer in providing training on matters of safety and health to his employees to ensure that: (a) his employees receive, during time offfromtheir duties and without loss of remuneration, adequate safety and health training, including, in particular, information and instructions relating to the particular task or workstation involved; and -58-  (c) particularly sensitive risk groups of employees are protected against any dangers which specifically affect them. This training must be provided when new employees are recruited, when an employee transfers or changes job, and when new or changed equipment or technology is introduced.  (d)  Carcinogens  Regulations concerning exposure to carcinogens (substances or preparations which may cause cancer) came into effect in 1993. These Carcinogens Regulations are particularly salient given thefindingsin the health literature on the levels of carcinogenic exposure women experience in electronics production and assembly. Regulation 4 states that it is an employer's duty to apply the following measures, as specified in the Second Schedule to the Carcinogens Regulations. (1) (2) (3) (4)  (5)  (6) (7)  (8) (9)  Limitation of the quantities of a carcinogen at the place of work; The keeping as low as possible of the number of employees exposed or likely to be exposed to a carcinogen; Design of work processes and engineering control measures so as to avoid or minimize the release of carcinogens into the place of work; The use of appropriate systems for the extraction of carcinogens at source compatible with the need to protect health and the environment; The use of appropriate systems for the extraction of carcinogens, in particular for the early detection of abnormal exposures resulting from an accident or other unforeseen event; The use of suitable working procedures and methods; The use of both collective protection measures and individual protection measures where exposure cannot be avoided by other means; The use of hygiene measures, in particular regular cleaning of floors, walls and other surfaces; The provision of information for employees; -59-  (10)  The marking of risk areas and the use of adequate warning and safety signs, including "no smoking" signs, in areas where employees are exposed or are likely to be exposed to a carcinogen;  (11)  The drawing up of plans to deal with emergencies likely to result in abnormally high exposure;  (12)  The means for safe storage, handling and transportation, in particular by using sealed containers which are clearly and visibly labelled;  (13)  the means for safe collection, storage and disposal of carcinogenic waste by employees, including the use of sealed containers which are clearly and visibly labelled.  An employer is also obliged to conduct health surveillance of employees, in particular, biological monitoring to detect early and reversible effects of carcinogenic exposure.  (e)  Chemical Agents  Legislation respecting workplace protection from the effects of exposure to chemical agents is offered by the Chemical Agents Regulations and is similar in scope and content to the directions regarding carcinogenic exposure. An employer is bound to ensure that employees' exposure to chemical agents in the workplace is completely avoided and where such is not possible to control exposure levels by:  (1)  using less hazardous materials;  (2)  limiting the use of the chemical  (3)  limiting the number of employees exposed;  (4)  using engineering controls;  (5)  individual and collective protective measures;  (6)  hygiene measures; and  (7)  through the use of warning and safety signs. (Section 3 - General Duties)  Employers are also responsible for health surveillance, for measuring the nature, degree  -60-  and risk of any exposure to chemical agents in the workplace, and for documenting such measurements. Duties regarding information, training and consultation are similar to those outlined above under the General Regulations.  (0  Pregnant Employees  Employers have specific duties respecting the occupational health and safety needs of pregnant employees under the Pregnant Employees Regulations. Given that many women employed in electronics production and assembly are often in their childbearing years, these regulations are of particular relevance. An employer's general duty is to, at 4(a): "assess any risk to the safety or health of employees, and any possible effect on the pregnancy or breastfeeding by employees, resultingfromany activity at that employers place of work likely to involve a risk of exposure to an agent, process or working condition specified in the First Schedule and, for that purpose, to determine the nature, degree and duration of any employee's exposure to such agents, processes or working conditions and to take the preventive and protective measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of such employees and to avoid any possible effect on such pregnancy or breastfeeding".  The agents, processes and working conditions outlined in the First Schedule include physical agents which are likely to cause foetal lesions or disrupt placental attachment, biological agents, and for the specific purposes of this research, chemical agents, including substances labelled under the European Communities (Classifications, Packaging, Labelling and Notification of Dangerous Substances) Regulations, 1994 (S.I.  -61-  No. 77 of 1994), chemical agents listed in the First Schedule to the Carcinogens Regulations and chemical agents of known and dangerous percutaneous absorption.  The employer also has a duty to assess any risk to safety or health likely to arise from exposure to agents, processes and working conditions outlined in the second schedule to the Regulations of a pregnant employee or an employee who is breastfeeding and to ensure that an employee is not required to perform any duties for which the before-mentioned assessment reveals risk. Again, with specific reference to this research, chemical agents include lead and lead derivatives insofar as these agents are capable of being absorbed by the human organism.  (g)  Duties of Employees  Employees, likewise, have a duty to take reasonable care for their own safety, health and welfare at work and for the health and safety of other employees who may be affected by their actions. This duty extends to requiring employees:  to use in such manner so as to provide the protection intended, any suitable appliance, protective clothing, convenience, equipment or other means or thing provided (whether for his use alone or for use by him in common with others) for securing his safety, health or welfare while at work". (The Act, Section 9(1 )(c))  An employee's duty to use such protection as provided is contingent upon receipt of proper training and instruction on the necessity for and use of protection of which it is an employer's duty to provide:  "It shall be the duty of every employee, taking into account training and  -62-  instructions given by his employer..." (General Regulations, Section 14).  2.  Enforcement - The Health and Safety Authority  The Barrington Commission in the mid 1980s led to the 1989 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and to the establishment of the Irish Health and Safety Authority ("HSA"), a semi-state body that reports to the Ministry for Enterprise and Employment and which has overall responsibility for the enforcement of health and safety at work in Ireland. The HSA's mandate is to promote education, training and research and to provide information and advice to employers, employees and the self-employed on occupational health and safety issues. HSA inspectors are authorized to monitor compliance with legislation at the workplace and to take enforcement action (including prosecutions) for non-compliance with the law.  When I interviewed a health and safety inspector for the Southern Region, he informed me that there were only 11 inspectors for the entire Cork and Kerry region, some 80 for the whole country. As a rule, he submitted that he did not receive complaints about health and safetyfromwomen in the electronics industry. His position was that the electronics industry in Ireland was "clean"; that women would only be exposed to solder fumes and perhaps sufferfromrepetitive strain injuries. He insisted that workers were never dealing with carcinogens; that they were not "dealing really with chemicals". In fact, the inspector informed this writer that "it's hard to take complaints in electronics seriously when one deals daily with loss of limbs and life". Most of his time is spent in the construction industry (Personal Communication, HSA, 1999).  I also spoke with a union official (SIPTU) dealing with the electronics industry in Cork.  -63-  He described electronics as a "sexy" industry, with "high money in the high end". He was not aware of any of the health data on electronics production and assembly, that there even were health concerns apparently. It was his experience that foreign companies were very, what he termed "conscious" and more concerned than Irish companies with the claims of workers. He had not received any complaintsfromwomen workers about workplace health and safety (Personal Communication, SIPTU, 1999 (b)).  The Freedom of Information Act does not currently cover health and safety legislation. There is no external monitoring of the HS A. I was unable to obtain information about the health and safety practice of individual companies (Personal Communication, HSA, 1999).  -64-  CHAPTER SEVEN RESEARCH METHOD 1.  Research Perspective  As mentioned earlier in this paper, there is literally a mass of information on women in the electronics industry globally, with neither continuity nor consistency between sources and perspectives. Studies, utilizing a wide variety of methods, have been conducted by partiesfroma range of disciplines, both within and outside academic circles, in attempts to document and understand the massive change that this new revolution in information technology has wrought on peoples' lives world-wide.  The debate regarding the health hazards associated with electronics' production is no less fragmented. Again, studies have relied upon the use of an eclectic variety of research methods. There have been, and there continues to be, efforts to causally link exposure to chemicals in electronics with both established and suspected health concerns, through the use of formal, traditional, scientific research methods. Access, however, has proven to be a significant barrier in this respect, as this author subsequently discovered. Many of the attempts to document health concerns and health and safety practices have been undertaken by community health and environmental activists in locally affected areas (such as the Asia Monitor Resource Centre in Hong Kong) and by advocates in areas which have had some success in dealing with the industry (Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, for example). Consequently, many of the research methods favoured seem, for the most part, to have tended to rely on obtaining narrative accounts of workers' experiences with efforts to organize workers around such experiences and provide information, advocacy and support.  -65-  It wasfromthis perspective that I approached what seemed to be a critical need to document the occupational health and safety experiences of Irish workers in the production and assembly end of the electronics industry in Cork.  2,  Research Goals  The principal goal of this research project at the outset was to document, describe and analyze the occupational health and safety experiences of women in the production and assembly end of the electronics industry in Cork, Ireland. I initially identified three specific research objectives:  1.  To gather demographic information. The literature suggests that it is mostly young, single women who are primarily employed in this sector worldwide.  2.  To document worker's health concerns; and  3.  To describe the occupational health and safety measures that are undertaken in some electronics' workplaces in the Cork area.  3,  Level of Design  Data for this study were collected during the months of March, April and May, 1999, in Cork, Ireland. The overall research design utilized is one which ean best be referred to as "two-stage": the initial level involves a descriptive-analytic study of women workers in the industry; the second the facilitation by this writer of a very short educational component to bring together interested subjects to share relevant health and safety information and to discuss change strategies.  -66-  A descriptive-analytic design was chosen for thefirstlevel for a number of reasons. Anastas and MacDonald (1994) suggest one of the main purposes of descriptive research to be the production of as comprehensive and credible an account of the phenomenon under investigation as is possible. This was certainly my intention with respect to simply generating a normative account of Irish female micro-electronics workers' health and safety experiences. The design, in thisfirstlevel, can be described as more or less fixed. It derived in large partfrommy theoretical standpoint: an understandingfromthe literature that it is predominantly women worldwide who are exploited daily in the production and assembly end of the micro-electronics industry, an exploitation which has proven itself to be most visible in terms of the health costs borne by women and the lack of protection afforded by government. As such, I initially determined the population and variables to be studied: 50 Irish women, looking at demographic information, health concerns and occupational health and safety experiences. I approached the study with the stated assumption that the health costs for Irish women would be significant and with an interest in documenting such.  I am cognizant of the known weaknesses of a descriptive design (Anastas and Macdonald, 1994): that it only describes how a phenomenon looks rather than the manner in which it functions; that the "picture" produced is static - limited to a certain context; and that this picture is entirely dependent on a particular point of view. Despite its weaknesses, it is my contention that this level of design was the most appropriate choice for meeting my research objectives. I was interested in gathering descriptive evidence about health and safety practices. I consciously sought to present these worker's point of view. The results of this type of study, however, are not generalizable. -67-  4,  Participants  Selection criteria for this study were broad and fairly straightforward. The population was defined as women who were at the time of the study working in the production and/or assembly end of the electronics sector in Cork, Ireland. Male workers were excluded. Given that sample size can be a key factor in determining the accuracy of the conclusions which can be drawnfromany research (Anastas and MacDonald, 1994), I had originally aimed for a fairly large sample size of 50 for this study and had allowed for adequate time in Ireland to meet with this number of women. I also felt that a large sample size would be necessary due to the expected heterogeneity of the target population. However, since my sample was not random, representativeness was not the key issue and my main intent was to gather rich insights into subjects' experiences. I knew,fromday one, although my research design wasfixed,that I would need to be flexible in my expectations regarding participation, particularly given the possibly negative workplace ramifications for participating for workers. I was guided, in terms of sample size, by what Anastas and MacDonald (1994) term the law of diminishing returns - that is, that thefinalsample size would ultimately be as large as the research process proved the sample needed to be.  A formal samplingframeof all workers in this industry was not available. Feasibility and efficiency dictated that the best means of accessing the target population was through the use of a combination of snowball and convenience sampling. I had established personal contacts (friends and family members) in the industry and had been assured that through this network, I could generate a workable sample. I had also initially considered attending at various worksites to recruit participants. Excluding male workers and  -68-  focusing on specific worksites meantfromthe outset that the results would not be generalizable to male workers in the same companies nor to both female and male workers in other companies who may have had entirely different occupational health and safety experiences. In fact, I had expected that utilizing a method which combined snowball and convenience sampling would produce a somewhat biased sample - one, for example, composed primarily of women who had grievances to voice. However, given my intent at the second level of this study to initiate an educational, piece and intent to find practical use for the results of this study, I had felt that this would be an advantage rather than a limitation to this approach.  5,  Measure  An interview schedule was constructed for the purpose of data collection for this study (See Appendix "A"). The schedule consists of three main sections: a section to gather demographic information, a section to assess workers' general health, and afinalsection to assess workers' understanding of the health risks associated with their work and the safety measures which were or were not being taken in the workplace. The middle interview section, the health assessment, is an adaptation of a hospital patient admission assessment schedule (Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, December, 1996). Attached to the interview schedule was a listing of some commonly used chemicals/toxins in electronics production. Workers were asked to identify those they had come into contact with directly either by breathing, touching or through direct exposure (Gassert, 1985 (b)). The interview schedule was modified to allow for a general systematic health assessment. All three sections of the interview are composed of bothfixedand open-ended questions - that is, all are designed to elicit both structured  -69-  and narrative type responses. The interview schedule constructed has no built in check for reliability other than the fact that it allows for a fairly comprehensive documentation of both worker's health and safety experiences. The interview schedule is fairly lengthy with detailed questions and was roughly pre-tested on a health and safety manager at an electronics plant in Cork, Ireland (by telephone). It was evident during the interview process that the questions constructed had face validity: all appeared understandable by subjects. Likewise, the measure has content validity: I discovered that it covered the range of issues I had initially intended it to cover.  A structured interview was chosen as the most appropriate method of data collection for a number of reasons. First, rather than utilizing a questionnaire/survey, I felt that a personal interview would allow for detailed chronicling of what would be complex and difficult experiences for subjects to write about. The subject matter in this situation is particularly sensitive respecting the subjective reporting of health concerns and was potentially explosive respecting individuals' experiences with occupational health and safety practices. I was interested in establishing personal contact with subjects for a number of reasons: to provide for and to create an atmosphere in which participants would feel comfortable discussing personal concerns, to allow for an opportunity for participants to question my motives and intentions as a researcher, to clarify questions which may have been unclear and/or misleading and to further probe areas which may not have been initially considered. Given my intention to conduct an education/information session, I valued the opportunity an interview would allow for the opportunity for social interaction and the chance to get feedback from women on their interest in attending such an information session, the form the session should take and the content to be included in such. Moreover, the return rate on a mail out, probably, would have been very low.  -70-  6,  Procedures  I arrived in Cork in mid March, 1999. During myfirstfew weeks, I made contact with a number of individuals who were either working in or in some way connected to the electronics industry. I successfully completed, over the two-month period, a number of key informant interviews - with local environmental activists, a health and safety officer with the Health and Safety Authority, an interview with the Cork regional director for the Irish Industrial Development Agency and a number of interviews with SIPTU (Services Industrial Professional Trade Union) officials. I spoke with a local doctor (general practitioner) who had been identified to me as someone outspoken on the links between illness and environmental pollutants and met with a number of community development workers at Cork's Community Development Institute. I also made contact with an environmental activist working at Greenpeace in Dublin who had been contracted by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition to instigate preliminary research on the electronics industry in Ireland. These interviews served not only to provide basic information but also as a process of identifying potential allies for concerned workers.  The interview process was fragmented and slow. One of the biggest concerns I have always personally had about this research was the possibility that it would cause difficulties for workers should others (either co-workers or management)findout about their involvement. Many of those working in electronics production and assembly are employed on temporary bases and do not have the support of a union. As such, I was extremely cautious to the point of being almost secretive about who I was or was not conversing with. Initially, two of my contacts in the industry, both at different worksites, began speaking with co-workers about the research I was doing. Again, extreme  -71 -  discretion had to be exercised by both these women in terms of whom they could and could not trust to participate. In fact, if one of these women judged that a co-worker would not be interested in participating or would not keep the research in confidence, they simply were not asked. Arrangements were made for me to meet those who expressed interest in participating.  At the same time, I followed up on contact names that were forwarded to me by telephone. I did not contact workers unless a preliminary contact had been first established by my own industry contacts and a return message sent to me that a particular woman would be willing to be part of my research. Each potential interview was proceeded by a lengthy discussion between myself and the participant in which I outlined the background to the research - how I came to be interested in the topic, my personal experience as a social worker, my experience leaving Ireland and coming back to do the research and my intentions/motivations with respect to the work - in short, what I hoped to accomplish. I also made a strict point of explaining to workers the potential future use of the data; that is, that there was a possibility that I would publicize the results should such be significant. I assured workers absolute personal confidentiality and anonymity but was not able to assure such with respect to workplace identity. For example, while it would never be known which workers participated in the study, it may become public knowledge which electronics companies these workers were employed by. This was a critical point, not only in terms of workers' decisions to participate or not but also with respect to the importance of maintaining silence about that participation in the workplace.  Initially, there was overwhelming interest in participating and many interview  -72-  appointments were scheduled. As the weeks wore on, however, I began to truly get a sense of people's wariness and reticence as many of those who had expressed an interest in participating simply did not show up. I abandoned my initial targetted sample size and at the end of the three month period, had interviewed 12 women. Those interviewed, however small in number, were key participants; in particular four women I felt would remain committed to the issue on a long-term basis. Each interview was one to two hours in duration. All were summarily recorded in writing.  On the night before I left Ireland, I facilitated a short educational session on the electronics industry and its associated occupational health hazards. What follows is a summary of the information obtained through the interviews.  2.  Analysis  In this study data were collected both in numerical and narrative form. Numerical data were analyzed primarily through the use of a computer program (SPSS.) and in the form of descriptive statistics to provide demographic information and statistics on worker health and occupational safety practices. This numerical data is substantiated by narrative data, which has been coded andfromwhich main and recurring themes and patterns have been extracted. Numerical data were coded and labelled and for each variable afrequency(percentage) and summary statistic (typically the mean) generated.  -73-  CHAPTER EIGHT RESULTS Interview results are presented in this report in the order in which they were obtained and to coincide with the research objectives previously outlined: (a) demographic information; (b) health concerns, and (c) occupational health and safety experiences. 1.  Demographic Information  TABLE 1.  STRUCTURE OF THE SAMPLED FEMALE WORKFORCE  1 A. MARITAL AND FAMILY Single Married Without Children 50%  50%  With Children  58%  42%  IB. EDUCATION LEVELS ATTAINED Primary Secondary Certificates Intermediate (Gr9) Leaving (Grl2) 8.3%  1C.  25%  Average Number of Children 1.4  College  50%  16.7%  ANNUAL EARNINGS  *Punts  11,000 - 15,000  16,000 - 20,000  *C$  19,250-26,250  28,000-35,000  83%  17%  * At exchange rate of 1.75CS per Irish Pound (Punt), The Punt is. tied to the Euro, The exchange rate against the Canadian dollar variesfromabout 1.7 to about 2.3. -74-  ID. AGE STRUCTURE Years of Age 16 -24 25 -34 25%  58.3%  35-40 16.7%  Estimated Mean Age 29.2 years  All of the participants in this study were women. Fifty-percent (50%) were married, 50% single, that is never married. Fifty-eight percent (58%) have children, forty-two percent (41.7%)  do not. Of those who do have children, the range is narrow,from1 to 2; with  an average of 1.4. One of the participants was, at the time of the study, pregnant with herfirstchild. Level of education rangesfromprimary school (8.3%) to college (16.7%).  The majority of participants have either completed intermediate certificate  (25% - intermediate certificate being equivalent to Canadian Grade 9) or leaving certificate (50% - equivalent to Grade 12). Eighty-three percent (83%) of participants earn, on an annual basis, a wage of between 11,000 (pounds IR) and 15,000 (pounds IR). The remaining participants (16.7%) earn between 16,000 (pounds IR) and 20,000 (pounds IR).  Twenty-five percent (25%) of the women interviewed were between 16 and 24 years of age; 58.3% between 25 and 34 years; and 16.7% between 35 and 44. The majority were working as general operatives/reworkers (50%) and general operatives (16.7%), both entry level positions. General operatives inspect circuit boards after the wave and wash and also after hand soldering at the end of the manual line (with wave soldering, circuit boards are placed above a hot solder bath and a machine created wave spreads a layer of solder on the boards). Re-workers repair and rework circuit boards with solder; soldering -75 *  and de-soldering using soldering irons and a de-soldering machine. The re-worker shift was typically 8a.m. to 8p.m., three days per week, alternating days in the month. Breaks were 10 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes for lunch, 5 minutes in the afternoon and 15 minutes for evening tea (50 minutes in total during a 12 hour period).  Reworkers and general operatives, for the most part, sit over circuit boards for the entire duration of their work shifts. Workers move only when looking for a part. They are under constant supervision and often told to "stop talking" and to work faster, "come on, come on" by a line supervisor. They are not permitted to walk around or exercise unless to take a bathroom break. Many of the reworkers were employed on a temporary/temporary basis - no benefits and sick pay only with a doctor's certificate.  One participant was employed as a senior grade operator, one as a quality auditor, one a quality engineer and one a health and safety co-ordinator. Senior grade operators replace or understudy lead operators, managing people in a particular work area or on an assembly line. The quality auditor audits or checks samples offinishedgoods and the quality engineer deals with quality issues or problems for customers. The senior grade operator worked day shift 8:30a.m. to 5:05p.m. (10 minute and 25 minute break) and the quality auditor typically worked an 11 hour day shift (5 days per week)from8:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. (with a 10 minute morning break, 20 minute lunch break and 15 minute evening break).  The health and safety co-ordinator was employed to ensure health and safety in the  -76-  workplace. This involved monitoring control of electrostatic discharge straps (grounders not to damage boards) and housekeeping, i.e. ensuring a clean and tidy workplace. She prepared weekly audits, checking to see if things were out of place. She monitored accidents and reported to the Health and Safety Authorities, necessary only if a worker was out of work for 3 days or more. This woman had previously worked as a line supervisor, a lead operator, a senior grade operator, and as a general operative, soldering and assembling components onto printed circuit boards, repairing tracks and damaged boards. Finally, she took reports on general health and safety complaints and was also involved in preparing environmental audits.  The length of time employed by all participants in these particular positions ranged from 6 months to 7 years; 64.7% of participants were employed in their current positions from between 2 and 5 years. Participants had worked in the electronics' industry for 4 to 17 years. Thirty-three percent (33.4%) of those interviewed had worked in the electronics' sector for some 10 to 12 years.  Ninety percent (90%) of workers were, at the time of the study, employed at one of two main Cork based electronics'firms.Many of those interviewed had also worked previously for other companies -fiveother companies in total. While the interview questions were specific to current place of employment, most participants, reflecting on previous employment, suggested a similarity of work place conditions across sites.  -77-  2.  Worker Health and Well-Being  TABLE 2.  WORKER HEALTH AND WELL BEING  2A. SICK LEAVE IN THE PAST YEAR 0-2 days 3-10 days > 10 days 49.7%  19%  31.3%  2.B PERTINENT PRIOR MEDICAL HISTORY Positive Negative 58.3%  2C.i  41.7%  MEDICAL CONDITIONS AT TIME OF STUDY Positive %  Allergies Neurological Dysfunction Headaches Dizziness Consciousness Level Respiratory System Cough Productive Cough Skin Concerns Rashes Bruising Broken Skin Vision Difficulty Corrective Aid  -78-  Negative %  24 100 76 16.7 8.3  76  66.7 75  33.3  75 50 16.7 8.3  25  66.7 33.3  33.3 66.7  2C.ii MEDICAL CONDITIONS AT TIME OF STUDY Positive % On Medication Birth Control Pain, Previous 24 hrs Circulatory System Symptoms Gastro-intestinal System Good Appetite Nausea Urinary System Difficulty Musculoskeletal System Difficulty Joint Stiffness Muscular Weakness Muscular Pain Reproductive System Pregnant Irregular Menses Menstrual Flow heavy medium light  (a)  Negative %  83.3 58 33.3  16.7 42 66.7  41.7  58.3  91.7 25  8.3 75  16.7  83.3  75 50 8.3 16.7  25  8.3 16.7 41.7 50.0 8.3  83.3  Pertinent Medical History  Workers were asked for information about their pertinent medical history, including major hospitalizations, surgeries, physical or psychiatric illnesses, communicable or blood borne diseases and their dates of onset and treatments received. Fifty eight percent (58.3%) of participants had had prior experiences in one of these areas; 41.7% had not. Past medical experiences included a miscarriage, tuberculosis, bell's palsy,fluidremoval -79-  from leg during childhood, threatened appendix (as a child), measles, chicken pox, tonsillitis and chest problems the year before, car accident, knee problems, impetigo and rashes. The number of sick days takenfromwork in the last calendar year rangedfrom0 to 15. Thirty one percent (31.3%) sampled had had ten or more days off sick; 49.7% had taken two days or less (either 2, 1 or none). Some women reported that they only take sick days when their children are sick. They do not get paid for sick days. Others had taken them for seasonalfluand as mental health days. The participant who had taken 15 days sick time took such for depression related reasons (stress and work induced). This was herfirsttime ever taking sick leave in 9 years.  (fa)  Allergies/Reactions  When questioned about allergies, 24 % reported having known allergies. One woman reported having developed allergies to pollen, dogs, cats, dampness, household sprays, mushrooms, yeast, dairy products, and citrus products. She informed the writer that her doctor disputes food allergies as a cause and maintains that her problems are mostly work related. Another reported severe sinus difficulties, hayfever and dust allergies. She is constantly sneezing and often cannot breathe or see. She is allergic to perfumes, deodorants, washing powder, aftershave, anything that smells. She has constant pain in her face, particularly in her nose. Her throat and ears are also constantly itchy. She has been taking anti-histamines now 1 per day for 4 to 5 years and 2 per day for 2 years. She also uses eye drops. A third participant reported that her sinus difficulties were worse after the use of Relicore (a lead based solder). She did not have the same reaction when utilizingfluxbased solder. She was clogged up and sore across the bridge of her nose.  -80-  This had continued for at least three months; in fact, the same length of time that she had been using the solder.  (c)  Medication  Eighty three percent (83.3%) were, at the time of the study, taking some sort of medication (including prescription drugs (birth control pill (58%), anti-biotics for a wisdom tooth infection, tetracycline for a skin condition) and non-prescription drugs (iron pills)).  (d)  Eaia  Thirty three percent (33.3%) reported experiencing pain of some sort in the last 24 hours. One participant sufferedfromchronic backache, which worsened when she was tired; a second participant reported permanent throbbing of her nose and gums; and a third swollen and infected glands in her neck. This problem started 8 years ago (this woman had worked in the industry at the time of the study for 12 years) and causes chronic pain. The participant reported that her face is very painful, that she often cannot move her neck and feels "run down" and that she has simply learned to live with the pain.  (e)  Neurological System  All participants, that is 100% of those interviewed, when questioned about neurological functioning, reported experiencing some ailment: 76% reported experiencing headaches, 16.7% some form of dizziness, and 8.3% some alteration in level of consciousness. Two participants reported only occasional headache. The rest, however, spoke at length  -81-  about their difficulties with chronic, recurring headaches and dizziness. The following are some comments: "I get headaches at least every two weeks. Sometimes, I see double. The headaches and my eyesight are very bad when I'm tired." "2-3 months ago, I passed out for no reason...get monthly headaches". "I get bad headaches once a week. They're very bad. My doctor thinks they are sinus related and I have a numbness under my eyes". "...headachesfromeyestrain. I get them a lot, weekly. I'm exhausted after the headaches... and a tingling in my hands sometimes". "I get a paralyzed feeling in bed. Sometimes, I'm light-headed at work and I have a numbness in my left arm...frequently get headaches...every second day...many people in work sufferfromheadaches, so many that pills are no longer available through the safety rep.". "headaches are severe...weekly...disappear with Anadin...occasional dizziness... sometimes off balance and difficulty speaking...this is a strong dizziness, like a hangover...hands tingle...blood rush and tightness when closes". "I get a numbness in my legs. After sitting for 10 minutes, my leg goes dead. It often happens...started about 6 months ago".  CO  Respiratory System  Sixty six percent (66.7%) of women, at the time of the study, reported having a cough; 75% of those coughing had a cough which was productive. One participant described her cough as one that seems to come and go for no reason: "It starts with a dry throat, then sore, then the cough". The participant feels this has happened since they started using "Kester's" solder. A second participant, who also relayed using a new solder at her  -82-  workplace (unnamed) described a night-time cough that she had had for a number of weeks. A third had had a cough, on and off, for over a year. Forty one percent (41%) of those questioned experienced shortness of breath. The following are some comments participants relayed about respiratory difficulties: "I can only breathe through my mouth. My nose is permanently blocked. I can't breathe through my nose" "I get a terrible shortness of breath when my sinuses are clogged up...need to breathe through my mouth" "I sufferfromsinus problems but I'm an extreme case. I can't eat. My doctor wants my sinuses scraped. It started 7 to 8 years ago...I have nasal drip...worse in the morning. It's very painful. The pain under my cheekbones is very painful. I've tried everything...I've constant headaches and sore/tired eyes...if I stay out of work for one week, my eyes are fine" "It started 3 years ago...sinus blocked nose and throbbing gums. My nose is constantly painful and hard. There's no normalflow.The mucus is thick and the pain., also across my eyes and into my gums. I've had antibiotic treatments...! have a constant infection and it's not cleared by antibiotics".  (g)  Circulatory System  41.7% of women reported experiencing some circulatory difficulties - hypertension, lung pain, a racing heart due to work pressure, feelings of panic, a muscular pain in the heart and chest pain.  (b)  Gastrointestinal/Nutrition  Ninety one percent (91.7%) described themselves as having a good appetite; one participant was on a special diet (weight loss). Only one participant had experienced -83-  noticeable weight loss (this was purposive). Three participants (25% of the group) had, however, been experiencing nausea.  (i)  Urinary System  The majority of participants (83.3%) were not experiencing urinary difficulties.  (j)  Musculoskeletal System  Seventyfivepercent (75%) of those interviewed were experiencing some form of musculoskeletal difficulty: 50% sufferedfromchronic joint stiffness; the remaining 25% from muscular weakness (8.3%) and muscular pain during rest (16.7%). (k)  Skin  Seventyfivepercent (75%) of participants reported skin concerns: 50% rashes, 16.7% bruising and 8.3% broken skin. One participant spoke of having developed allergic reactions to soap powders; another a white lumpy rash on her hands, arm and back that comes when using "Pro-clean" and disappears after one hour. A third spoke of a rash she developed 6 years ago which caused painful swelling on her face and over her entire body. The cause was unknown but it lasted for two years, until she moved to work at another electronics company. A fourth participant has a constant rash on her face which she only gets near flux (flux is used to make solderflow).This has been ongoing for 5 years. She is conscious of not rubbing her hands to her face. The rash can last all day  -84-  but disappears at home. Afifth,has painful broken skin on her hands. This is a constant condition.  (I)  Vision  When questioned about their vision, 66.7% of participants reported experiencing one or all of the following: blurred vision, blindness, redness, discharge, conjunctivitis and tired eyes. Thirty three percent (33.3%) relied on some form of corrective aid (either glasses or contact lenses). Most of the participants that reported difficulty with vision complained of sore, tired, blurry, red eyes. The following are illustrative comments: "When I do close work, my eyes go fuzzy...regular redness and discharge...when I leave work and go out into thefreshair, the discharge disappears. I had a bad case of conjunctivitis six months ago... required a hospital visit... recurring conjunctivitis." "I'm taking eye drops. This is myfifthprescription...red eyes and skin...started since working at *****...viral infection in eye...now need to see a specialist. I did a lot of overtime recently and really noticed my eye problem since. My eyes are blurry when I'm trying to focus and they're always red...running." "I have sore, red eyes, particularly at work. I always have discharge in my eyes in the morning". "My eyesight registers well but I have blurred vision. I've gritty, sore eyes. They're always sore at work."  (m)  Reproductive System  One of the participants was, at the time of the study, pregnant and only one participant reported any form of reproductive concern (vaginal discharge). Eighty three percent  -85-  (83.3%) reported having a regular menstrual cycle: menstrualflowrangingfrom41.7% (heavy) to 50%(medium) to 8.3% (light). One participant had had a miscarriage.  TABLE 2D CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY SCREENING Use %  Sleeping Aids Cigarettes Average Smoked Excessive alcohol/medication Social Drinking Average Sleep  (n)  0 41.7 20.4/day 0 Most 7.3 hrs  Do Not Use %  52.8  Chemical Dependency Screening  Hours of sleep per night rangedfrom5 to 9, with an average of 7.3 None of the participants reported using sleep assists. Of the 12 study participants, 5 smoked cigarettes (41.7%): the number of cigarettes smoked rangedfrom12 to 30 per day, with an average of 20.4. Of the seven non-smokers, only one was a past smoker, having had smoked for over 10 years. None of those interviewed reported using alcohol, medication and/or drugs to worrying or excessive extents. Most of the participants reported being social drinkers.  3.  Workplace Health and Safety  -86-  TABLE 3. WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY 3. A. TRAINING Received % 41.7 41.7  Manual Handling Product Toxicity Workplace Emergency  3 B.  None Received % 58.3  0 0  HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS OF THE WORKFORCE Affirmative % Negative %  Concern Over Safety Handling Toxic Products Speculate on Side Effects  83.3 33.3 25  Would Express Concern to: Supervisor Union Operations Manager No-one  58.3 16.7 8.4 16.7  Concerns Voiced in Past  33.3  16.7 41.7 75  Did Not Know %  25  66.7  Participants were asked a number of questions to determine both their experience of and understanding of the need for adequate workplace health and safety practice and procedures. They reported as follows:  (a)  Training  Of those interviewed, 41.7% reported receiving some form of training on workplace -87-  health and safety; 58.3% had received no form of training whatsoever. It is worth noting that the training the 41.7% reported having received was restricted to safe manual handling practices. When participants were asked if they had received any form of training to either recognize the toxicity of products handled, training on the appropriate handling of workplace chemicals or training on procedures regarding the handling of chemicals during a workplace emergency, all reported that they had not received any form of training or education whatsoever.  (b)  Health and Safety Concerns  TABLE 3 C LIST OF CHEMICALS AND PHYSICAL CONDITIONS ENCOUNTERED IN THE WORKPLACE CHEMICALS Lead Mercury Methylene Chloride Nickel Pesticides Solvents Soldering Fumes Xylene  Acids Alcohol (industrial) Alkalis Ammonia Carbon Tetrachloride Epoxies Glues Fiberglass Freons PHYSICAL CONDITIONS Heat (severe) Noise (loud) Radiation Vibration X-Rays  -88-  Eighty three percent (83.3%) reported that they had concerns about workplace safety. When asked if their work involved handling toxic products, 41.7% reported that it did not, 33.3% that it did and a further 25% did not know. When shown an inventory of commonly used chemical substances in electronics production, workers were able to identify coming into contact with some or all of the following substances in their daily work (contact either through breathing, touching, or direct exposure): acids, alcohol (industrial), alkalis, ammonia, carbon tetrachloride, epoxies and glues, fiberglass, ffeons, heat (severe), lead, mercury, methylene chloride, nickel, noise (loud), pesticides, radiation, solvents, soldering fiimes, vibration, x-rays and xylene). Only 25% of participants were able to speculate about some of the side effects of materials handled; 75% simply did not know. The following are some of the participants' concerns: "no-one is aware of health and safety in the workplace... chemicals used... side effects are not being looked at...no-one at work talks about health and safety...lack of awareness is the biggest problem. We need a health and safety induction course...who to contact, with proper training from management down the line with ongoing courses...people are also not trained on how to use the equipment...many accidents with equipment..." "I was using pro-clean (microcare)...spray for cleaning solder residue. It sprayed in my eye, off the back of a brush. I was taken to hospital...blinded...I couldn't open my eye...flushed with 3.5 litres of water. The hospital wanted the can brought...work didn't want the can released but reluctantly agreed...they don't like anything going outside the door...don't want workers bringing anything out..." "on the wave...no protective equipment used...no gloves...extreme heat and used a lot offlux,thinners and alcohols... came in containers with no names..." "four of my friends have had miscarriages... all were situated around the wave...doctors feel they are work-related..." "workers have gotten electric shocks (220 volts)...have only ever had 1 fire drill...don't know where the extinguishers are...very concerned about plastics and electrics withfire...allmachines are covered with plastic..I've never had a lead test, -89-  never had a medical exam. There is a 60/40 lead content in the solder. We handle solder 12 hours a day... if the board comes back, it is handcleaned with Pro-clean (alcohol) or different thinners, which come in a pressurized can...Goldfingers...has a cyanide component and can cause nausea, conjunctivitis and cancer of the esophagus...investigated on my own through a college lab...only supposed to use Goldfingers for 4-6 hours...have been put on it for two 12 hour days running...grinding, cleaning/dipping into acid (twice), then Goldfingers..." "Labels are taken off the solders...not given to workers..." "solder used to have a warning label...now no longer contains the warning" "don't know if solder is toxic or not...one solder had a warning on it about birth defects...continued to use it..." "would only know if something was toxic if it had a warning sign... if someone had concerns, they would be just told to use it..."  When asked who they would relay these concerns to, 58.3% suggested their supervisor, 16.7% the union, 16.7% no-one and 8.4% the operations manager. Only 33.3% of participants had, in the past, voiced concerns. The following are comments by participants: "the union is useless...people are reluctant to complain...everyone has a mortgage and needs the job...: "what's the point?...don't know how well addressed it would be..." "nobody to relay concerns to... if pregnant, maybe the supervisor... maybe SIPTU...there is a health and safety committee in place...don't know who they are...don't even know what the committee does...union would be the only people listened to..." "would relay concerns to union but union is not very good...have not been helpful in the past...did pass on concerns about harassmentfromgroup leader, nothing about safety...opinion is that union are veryfriendlywith management..."  "there is a health and safety rep....don't know what she does...union is only okay...more for the company than the workers...don't know if the union rep. knows anything about the chemicals..." "productions/operations manager...relayed concerns in past...at supervisory level...no awareness...no recourse, nothing happened...knows xylene causes nausea/headaches/blurred vision and that uv lights cause burns..."  TABLE 3D PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT Used % Available % Equipment  TABLE 3.E  8.3  91.7  91.7  CLOTHING CHANGE Positive % 8.3 41.7  Change Areas Provided Change Clothing on Return Home  (c)  Not Used %  Negative % 91.7 58.3  Personal Protective Equipment  Ninety one percent (91.7%) of women do not use any form of protective equipment in the workplace (including goggles, masks, gloves, earplugs, clothing and/or shoes) although it was reported by, again, 91.7% of the sample that some forms of protection were available - goggles and gloves. Some reported that they did not see the need to use the equipment, others that they would feel foolish had they done so. As one participant stated: "I used a mask for a while with one solder but then I started to feel stupid. No one uses protective equipment and would look twice at you if you did use it When asked if there were repercussions for not using equipment, 91.7% reported that  -91 -  there were none at all. The use of protective equipment is left entirely to the discretion of the individual worker. Again, 91.7% of those sampled stated that workplace change areas were not provided should one wish to change into street clothes after work: 41.7% changed their clothing once they returned home.  (d)  Workplace Ventilation  Most of the participants complained about the general lack of ventilation in their work areas. For many, extraction vents had only been introduced to their work area the previous year. Even so, the inadequacy and inefficiency of the ventilation systems were stressed by nearly all of the women. Their comments are revealing: ""some of the desks have extractor fans. The desk I am working at currently has no fan... it is the luck of the draw when it comes to fans... some of the fans do not work at all. .the fans blow cold air onto workers' legs and lots of times, workers turn them off because they are too cold..." "the windows are 20 feet off the ground and are locked., extraction systems are often not connected...thefiltersystem needs to be cleaned after 365 days...I've never seen them cleaned...most are set at a low point and are only sucking very fine...not everyone has one either..." "many things are being used and we don't know their side effects...the spray cleaners say "use in well-ventilated areas" but the areas are not well-ventilated..." "the equipment is never repaired properly...sucks up solder fumes at low pace...do not have a qualified repair person..." "we only got extraction vents in the last year. Before that, there was no extraction system..." "the skylights are open but there are no windows. The wholeflooris contained...can smell stale air...solder waves run constantly with no air -92-  conditioning..concerns for pregnant women yet pregnant women still have to use and have no choice... would have tofightto get off it through the union... extraction systems only for some soldering...extraction systems in ceiling...direct to atmosphere...like a great big hoover with the sky as your bag at the end..." "fumesfromthe waves..conformal coating and lacquer on units...is sectioned off now but it wasn't sectioned off before..." "I'm worried about the wave... the fumes are very bad...there is grey smoke. You can see and smell the smoke. It should be contained but it isn't. The funnel to the roof doesn't work. The fumes come out at the end of the conveyor belt..." "There's no air..the air conditioning sometimes works and sometimes doesn't...the heat in the summer is extreme...the ceiling fans do not work...only small hand fans..." "The heat is the main problem...last year we complained to health and safety about the heat...people were fainting...we wanted industrial fans...the investigators said it wasn't warm enough..." "complaints not listened to...told that air conditioning was too expensive..." "concerned about breathing in of Relicore fumes...the fumes are very heavy...thicker than incense...smells like oil...only 4 fans for 8-10 workers...random...fan is specific to work desk...complained about fans...got fans three years ago...previous fans did nothing...told it was too expensive to get a fan for everyone..." "solder fumes...xylene in conformal coating room...now use extraction system...did not previously... "I'd like the fans to work...I'd like to know where the fumes are going...we were never given information on the solder being used...have worked using Relicore (marked as causing birth defects/reproductive problems)...I'm still using this solder"  -93-  CHAPTER NINE SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION As I sit to write this discussion, leadersfromsome 34 countries are meeting in Quebec City to negotiate afreetrade pact for the Americas (FTAA), a Western hemispheric equivalent (and challenge) to the EU Delegates are surrounded by an 8 kilometre, 3 metre high fence, a fence that is effectively blocking off the core of Quebec City, whilst anti-globalization protestors stream into the city. The fence, formidable police presence and secrecy surrounding the negotiations are only further evidence that democracy worldwide is increasingly taking a second seat to corporate profit. It is certainly now evident that capitalism operatesfreelyin an arena larger than which any one political entity can regulate or control (Wallerstein, 1974).  As outlined in the earlier chapters of this paper, it cannot be disputed that the core of economic exchange as we know it is taking place within an increasingly complex, inter-dependent, worldwide economy. The word global or globalization has become part of everyday language. More than any other period in history, the last 30 to 40 years have seen unfettered attempts to liberalize and internationalize production and trade. This is a period of historical time that has seen the emergence of a new international economic order with phenomenal shifts in terms of both traditional and historic production, market, capital, management and labour divisions both within and between nations, a revolution in information technology that in its obliteration of the notion of space has expedited the internationalization of capital accumulation (Harvey, 1996; Daza Samper, 1997) a heightened integration of so called "undeveloped" economies into the global market and attempts in many developing nations to industrialize and develop capitalist relations of  -94-  production, particularly through the pursuit of export-led development ("ELI"). ELI, or "industrialization by invitation" has resulted in a new international division of labour (Folker, Heinrichs and Kreye, 1977), a globalization of production that essentially involves the placing of both the assembly and manufacturing operations of a production process in less developed nations (often in designatedfreetrade or export processing zones) by multi or trans-national corporations that have their bases in highly industrialized countries (it is often referred to as "offshore sourcing"). Decision making processes remain in the core. Offshore sourcing is relied upon quite extensively by the electronics industry.  Export-led development has proven to be the favoured development strategy behind the neo-liberal, structural adjustment policies of such bodies as the IMF, World Bank, UNIDO, UNCTAD and US AID (ICFTU, 1998), and althoughfreetrade zones are promoted for the putative potential they offer to promote indigenous development, they exist primarily to benefit the demands of multinationals, to curb European and US trade union demands and established environmental and safety standards, and most importantly, to exploit the availability of cheap labour (Fuentes and Ehrenreich, 1989). The most attractive incentives for international investment are an educated and available workforce and stability, political, economic and social. Ireland has certainly not been anomalous in this regard.  Ireland is currently one of the most open trading economies in the world. It was one of thefirstcountries to pursue ELI in the 1950s, a pursuit due primarily to the forces of international pressure and because of internal economic crisis (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). In  -95-  fact, Irish development policy has always been determined exogenously. Since the 1950's, the country has undergone a literal transformationfromone of the world's most protected economies to one of its most open (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). Foreign manufacturing investment dominates Irish industry. Electronics is one of the planks of development. In addition to investment incentives such as a young educated workforce, a stable political environment and access to the European market, Ireland offers a very generous system of tax relief to foreign investors (IDA, various). Foreignfirmsenjoy an extremely high level of profitability yet there is little evidence to suggest that this profit is re-invested in Ireland (Allen O'Hearn, 1988). Moreover, wherever foreign industry offshores worldwide it is typically at a tremendous cost to local cultures and communities. Women often bear the brunt of this cost.  Employers in the electronics industry worldwide discriminate in favour of hiring women. Production and assembly work is labour intensive. Labour costs are a key determinant for multinationals in relocating. In capitalist markets, success is dependent upon companies' abilities to maintain a competitive edge. The lower the labour costs, the higher the profit. Industry goes where labour is cheap, expendable and easily controlled. History has shown that one of the cheapest and most expendable labour sources is women. This is a fact that is certainly evident in the electronics industry globally. The presence of multinationals in many developing countries has resulted in the emergence of a new international division of labour, and, in most instances, a growing feminization of the labour force (Rios, 1990).  The electronics industry is promoted worldwide as a putatively "clean" industry.  -96-  However, the manufacture of every electronic product depends upon a complex series of chemical processes. Electronics production and assembly is essentially a chemically based industry. Globally, on a daily basis, the industry utilizes thousands of different chemical compounds along its various production lines. Electronics companies use chemicals for cleaning more than for any other purpose. The majority of these cleaning chemicals (solvents, acids, alkalis) have not been tested properly to determine their long term health effects. Further, there is very little evidence about the synergistic effects of chemicals. Many of the chemicals are known or expected carcinogens and/or mutagens. Many of the chemicals are suspected feto-toxins (Gassert, 1985 (a)). Industry has gone to great lengths to reject any link between working conditions and health concerns although studies have definitively linked workplace exposure to toxins to cancer, reproductive difficulties and birth defects (LaDou and Rohm, 1998; SVTC, various). This is of critical significance given that many of those exposed to the hazards daily are young women in their childbearing years.  The literature shows that female workers in export-oriented industries are typically young, single, childless new entrants to the labour market (Kosak, 1982; Fernandez-Kelly and Garcia, 1988; North South Institute, 1988; Fuentes and Ehrenreich, 1989; Rios, 1990; Safa, 1990; Daza Sampa, 1997). Electronics production is highly stratified work. Women are primarily occupied in the production end, producing and assembling electronic components, in work that is low skilled, labour intensive, monotonous, poorly paid and which lacks mobility. Women almost always tend to occupy secondary and inferior positions in capitalist labour markets. Women's performance in the lower echelons of the labour force is functional for capitalism in that it minimizes labour costs  -97-  and increases profit. The cheapness of women's labour is rooted in the assumption in patriarchal systems that women have either husbands or fathers to provide for them. Patriarchy and capitalism are, at root, systems of domination (Bandarage, 1984). Economic exploitation is one control mechanism characteristic of domination systems. In export-processing areas, the requirements of capital prey upon established relations of domination and exploitation between the sexes. Multinational companies have certainly utilized patriarchal traditions in Ireland.  As demonstrated, Irish women have been subjected to their own particular history of patriarchal control, planted in the Constitution and woven throughout a wide array of repressive social legislation. It is a control that pivots on a clear ideological stance that the "natural" roles for women are wife and mother, of the most suitable venue for such within the institution of marriage, and of the most appropriate arrangement of this through women'sfinancialdependence on men. This ethos of dependency and assumption of family responsibility are key factors that have shaped women's experience in the Irish labour market. The assumption of femalefinancialdependence on men and women's responsibility for the fate of family are enshrined in the Constitution, are a cornerstone upon which both the Irish social welfare and taxation systems have historically been founded and are visible in a wide array of repressive social legislation, from reproductiverightsto family and social welfare entitlements to labour policy and legislation (Barry, 1988; Connelly, 1993; Lynch, 1993; Smyth, 1995) . The same have led traditionally to low labour force participation rates for women and an industry mindset that justifies poor pay, protection and promotion for Irish women workers.  However, despite the prevailing ideology, a certain class of Irish women have always -98-  participated in a waged economy (Daly, 1981). Many Irish women work to either supplement or to fully provide family incomes. Understanding women's experiences in paid employment in industry and services is critical because paid employment places money in women's hands. Economic autonomy (or the opposite, dependence) integrally influences women's ability (or, again, inability) to enjoy a full range of human rights. Women, worldwide, have experienced globalization differently (UN 11 EM, 2000). It is working class women who carry the brunt of the social costs associated with electronics assembly work. The most significant of these costs are those that are exacted on women's health. Despite the presence of a foreign-owned thriving electronics industry in Ireland now for some thirty odd years or so, not a single study has ever been conducted to document the health and safety experiences of workers.  Demographicfindingsin this small study were not surprising and congruent with the statistics on women in the industry globally. The majority of participants were young women and had worked in the industry for many years, some starting as girls as young as 17 or 18 years of age. Most had had little or no other prior work experience and/or training.  As indicated in the literature, employment skills developed in this work are industry specific and generally non-transferrable; a significant factor in terms of mobility and choice of alternate employment. Most of the employment shifts for women in this study were horizontal in nature, that is to a similar position at another electronics' company. The majority of participants had experienced little upward mobility, afindingagain  -99-  congruent with the general literature. Many were still working, after some number of years, in entry level positions.  Some of thefindingswith respect to rest breaks and length of shift were, to this writer, quite shocking, particularly for those working 12 hour shifts. Given the intense, laborious, repetitive nature of the work, fifty minutes break in total over a 12 hour period seems harsh. More Draconian is the fact that workers are not permitted to walk around or exercise unless to take a bathroom break.  Access was a significant barrier in this research study. Many women expressed an interest in participating and then simply did not show up for interviews. For some, they were simply too polite to say otherwise. For others, however, wariness about participation was directly due to concerns about potentially negative ramifications in the workplace. As I have just indicated, many have, historically, had little alternative employment choice. Compounding their vulnerability is the fact that many are not permanently employed and, even after many years of employment, in a state of permanent suspension with respect to job security and benefits. Many in this industry do not have the support of a union. The participants in the study who did have membership in a union, did not feel particularly supported by their union.  Work in the industry does appear to allow participants to generate a fairly decent living wage. This is what attracts women to the industry. Current levels of waged compensation are completely inadequate, however, when one considers the potential  - 100-  long-term health costs associated with this work.  The health concerns raised by participants in this study, in my estimation, are quite salient, particularly given the hazards highlighted in the general literature - high rates of spontaneous abortion, reproductive hazards, birth defects, breast cancer, brain tumours, asthma, allergies, headaches, eyestrain, chemical hyper-sensitization. A number of people that I spoke with referred to two significant studies on miscarriages they had heard had been conducted at another plant. The studies were not accessible to this writer. One of the participants in this study spoke of fourfriends,all of whom had had miscarriages within a short period of time. All four had been seated around the wave. One of the solders, Relicore, was labelled with a warning that suggests it can cause birth defects and/or reproductive difficulties. Many of the study participants continue to use Relicore without protection.  Many participants spoke at length about allergies, sinus difficulties, soreness and chronic pain across the bridge of the nose, throbbing gums, numbness under the eyes, skin rashes, dry cough and chronic, recurring headaches and dizziness,findings,again all congruent with the literature. Most of the participants that reported difficulty with vision had sore, tired, blurred, red eyes. Many complained about joint stiffness, a strain due primarily to the repetitive nature of the work.  The most significantfindingsin this study, however, were in the area of workplace health and safety. NONE of the participants, in all of their years working in this industry, had ever received any form of training whatsoever on chemicals' handling, INCLUDING the  -101-  health and safety co-ordinator. There had been absolutely no training to recognize the toxicity of products handled, on the appropriate use of workplace chemicals, or training on procedures regarding the handling of chemicals during a workplace emergency. The majority were able to identify coming into contact on a daily basis with a range of substances - leads, acids, glues, solvents, yet had no understanding whatsoever about the toxicity of these products and their side effects. Lack of awareness is one factor. The work culture in the industry, in general, appears to be one in which discussions about health and safety simply do not occur.  Although this study by no means addresses the adequacy of or is intended to endorse occupational health and safety legislation in Ireland, on the face of it, there appear to be statutory instruments to provide workplace protection for women in the electronics industry. It is very clear, however, that such legislation is not being enforced. According to the Act, employers are required to eliminate workplace hazards at source. The ventilation systems installed (only in the last year - women had worked without any extraction systems for years) were, according to participants, token gestures and completely inadequate and inefficient. The law provides for biological monitoring of worker's exposed to chemicals. Study participants had never had lead tests. Although some forms of personal protective equipment ("ppe") are provided (typically goggles and gloves), their use are left to the discretion of the individual worker. Because most do not understand the need for such and because, contrary to the legislation, women were not trained on the proper use of ppe, it is simply not used.  The HS A had, apparently, not received complaints about health and safetyfromwomen  - 102-  in the industry. This is, of course, difficult to verify, as information about the health and safety practices of individual companies is protected. Further, the FOI Act does not cover health and safety legislation. However, the position of the health and safety officer was clear, that the electronics industry in Ireland was "clean" and that workers did not deal with chemicals and/or carcinogens. One might doubt, if there were complaints voiced, how receptive the HSA would be to women's concerns. The union's official position was that they, too, were unaware of the health data on electronics production and assembly (an interesting position to this writer given the general, public availability of information on line and media coverage in recent years regarding health hazards). It is, therefore, not surprising, that study participants had not found recourse for their complaints through the union structure.  - 103-  CHAPTER TEN CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FTJRTHER WORK  "I would say, favour the question, always question. Do not accept answers as definitive. Answers change. Questions don't. Always question those who are certain of what they are saying. Always favour the person who is tolerant enough to understand that there are no absolute answers, but there are absolute questions". Elie Wiesel  There are a number of areas that have arisen during this research process that warrant further investigation. If workers are not handling hazardous substances, why is it that warning labels on solders are being removed? Why would a company refuse to release a simple cleaner to a hospital looking to treat a worker who had been sprayed in the eyes with that same substance? And what of the role of those in the medical system? One area that requires immediate further study is an examination of the prohibitive personal costs workers are faced with when seeking specialized medical treatment, specifically in this instance for allergies and rashes (dermatologists/specialists) and the knowledge medical doctors may or may not have about the health hazards associated with electronics work. It was also reported to this writer, many months after the study, that many of the young workers at one particular company, are routinely being prescribed anti-depressant medication by their family doctors. This is a claim that certainly necessitates investigation. The late 1970s to mid 1980s saw heightened activity in California to hold the electronics industry accountable for its hazardous work practices. Before comprehensive health studies could be conducted, the industry was simply exported to other parts of the world. Is it coincidence that these same years saw the  - 104-  heightened development of an American owned electronics presence in Ireland? I do not think so. How convenient for international players that when the IDA courts foreign investment, it does not include in its evaluation, a company's environment and/or labour (health and safety included) record in its home country. The assumption is that it is up to local Irish authorities to ensure that environmental and labour standards are complied with, bodies such as the HSA and the EPA. It is worth noting that the EPA was only established in 1993, the HSA in the late 1980s. The IDA has operated within an aura of secrecy for many years. Likewise, there is no external monitoring of the HSA, which operates autonomously andfreefrompublic scrutiny. Is it in the interests of workers or multinationals that both the IDA and the HSA are exemptfromthe Freedom of Information Act? Do provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 favour large corporations, able to absorb the bureaucratic costs of required measures? There seems to be collusion (both intended and unintended) amongst multiple players and at various levels to ensure that the health needs of women workers in the electronics industry in Cork, Ireland are kept in the dark. These are all areas worthy of further study and investigation.  This small research study has raised more questions than answers and the recommendations for further work broad in scope. At the very macro level are issues of global governance, matters such as labour rights, health and safety standards and environmental practices that are increasingly and voluntarily being left to local governments and, subsequently, not being enforced. There is a critical need for action in a number of areas, specifically:  - 105-  1.  Accountability of the Irish Government, in particular its Industrial Development Authority. It is not acceptable that this government body attracts foreign investment yet does not screen companies with respect to their prior environmental and/or labour practices. The cost of this incompetence is enormous and is being passed on silently to the Irish public;  2.  Extension of the Freedom of Information Act to include the workings of both the Health and Safety Authority and the Industrial Development Authority. It is inexcusable that these state bodies are allowed to function essentiallyfreefrom parliamentary scrutiny and in bubbles of secrecy. Irish citizens and workers have therightto know exactly which companies are locating in Ireland and what the environmental and labour practices of these companies are;  3.  Enforcement of the existing health and safety legislation. This is clearly not occurring in the electronics industry;  4.  Broad, comprehensive study of the Irish electronics industry,froma variety of perspectives;  5.  Involvement of universities and/or research bodies to conduct a broad scale epidemiological study on the electronics industry in Ireland. It is my contention, having conducted a fairly thorough review of the literature, that occupational  - 106-  health and safety standards are typically based on male populations. There is a critical need for information on the relationship between health hazards and women's health in the Irish electronics industry;  6.  Broadening of the union's data collection system to include the collection of male/female employment ratios;  7.  Identification of community allies (professional and/or otherwise) who are ideologically disposed to offering Irish electronics workers medical, scientific and/or legal aid;  8.  Education on chemical toxicology for health and safety officers;  9.  Mobilization of union personnel to:  10.  (a)  raise awareness regarding chemical health hazards; and  (b)  organize to protect the safety of workers; and  Mobilization and education of workers to ensure that workers understand: (a)  their legal rights;  (b)  how to lobby for more stringent enforcement of health and safety standards;  (c)  the health and safety hazards associated with their work;  (d)  how to inventory workplace chemicals and access data on chemical  - 107-  elements and hazards; and (e)  how to organize the workplace to ensure a safe, hazard free work environment.  The last recommendation is critical. As social workers, it is not only important to formulate a theoretical map to guide practice and to understand the various legislation and social policies that influence individuals, but to establish a point of intervention and a method or methods to effect change. For many social workers, change is best effected at the macro, policy level; for others, at the micro, individual level. The divide is illustrative of a long-standing debate in the social sciences, that of the primacy of structure versus agency. The central polemic question rests on the extent to which human beings have the capacity to act independent of structural constraints. It is my personal contention that a thorough understanding of theory and policy guides our work. It is my personal experience that while policy is written at the macro level, people live their lives, not just at the individual, but at the community level. I agree with Clarke (1996) that social work and community development are the same profession in that each has as its' goal the alleviation of social deprivation. I also agree that in the process of initiating change, social work must move beyond the models of offering basic forms of support to clients. As a discipline, the goal of social work must be to initiate not just personal but social change.  From a community social work perspective, there are a number of theoretical models that can be drawn from to guide effective intervention in this case, particularly with respect to the latter recommendation above. Rothman (1995) presents three ideal type constructs:  - 108-  locality development, social planning/policy and social action. Dominelli (1990) discusses four main models of community work: community care, community organization, community development and community action. In the community care model, workers focus on those voluntary services and social networks that offer a direct, caring service to community members. Community practitioners are typically unpaid volunteers who view the social system as adequate, albeit with some problems that can be addressed through voluntary effort.  In the community organization model, the focus for workers is on the co-ordination or improvement of services between differing welfare agencies. Community members at large are encouraged to participate in this process. Again, the system is recognized as essentially functional.  In the community development model, community workers focus on helping community members develop the self-help skills necessary to improve their living situations, primarily through educational processes. The community development model differsfromthe above two models in that, in this model, practitioners are interested in reformation of the social system, specifically through social engineering methods and relying on tactics such as discussion and negotiation. Community development often turns into community action when, in the attempt to change the system, discussion and negotiation prove futile.  In the community action model, conflict, direct action, confrontation and negotiation are utilized to effect social change. Unlike Rothman (1995), Dominelli (1990) differentiates between class based community action and feminist community action and suggests that  - 109-  unlike traditional community action, feminist community action challenges not just the class based allocation of power and resources in society but also the nature of capitalist patriarchal social relations. Consciousness raising and advocacy are tried and tested change strategiesfroma feminist perspective. Cooperative group advocacy involves women coming together to support each other collectively; organizational legislative advocacy refers to those links that develop between groups of women to demand organizational and legislative change.  Earlier in this paper, I referred to work by Geraldine Moane (1996) and her assertion that Irish women have actually gained strengthsfromtheir history of resistance to both colonization and patriarchy, strengths such as a sense of solidarity, courage, empathy and a capacity for co-operation. If this is indeed the case, such could form a very solid basis for both the co-operative group advocacy and organizational, legislative advocacy Dominelli (1990) advocates.  As a social worker, I would personally startfroma community development perspective. It would be perfectly imaginable to develop an educational module based on the earlier research of this paper, to bring a group of women electronics' workers in Cork together, through dialogue and discussion and based on some of the principles of transformative learning (self reflection, critical assessment of assumptions, recognition of shared discontent, exploration of options for new roles, relationships and action and planning and implementing a new course of action (Cranton, 1998)), facilitate an understanding of the development of the global electronics industry, Irish economic development - policy and practice, some of the reasons for the preferential hiring of women in electronics  - 110-  world-wide, the legislation that affects women in the Irish workforce and Irish occupational health and safety legislation. It would be important to include information on women's legal rights, on the major processes in electronics, the known and suspected health and safety hazards and methods of hazard control in the workplace, including how to organize for and monitor changes in the workplace. Those interested, could, in turn, educate others.  This would simply be one place to start, and in that process all could change, change utterly  - I l l -  REFERENCES Allen O'Hearn, Denis. (1998). "Export-led Industrialization in Ireland: A Specific Case of Dependent Development". Dissertation Abstracts International. The Humanities and Social Sciences. 49, 5, November: 1288-1289. Allen, Robert and Jones, Tara. (1990). Guests of the Nation. People of Ireland versus the Multinationals. Earthscan Publications Ltd. London. Anastas, Jeane W. and MacDonald, Marian L. (1994). Research Design for Social Work and the Human Services. MacMillan Inc.: New York. Apter, Terri and Garnsey, Elizabeth. (1994). 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March 26-April 2. The North-South Institute. (1988). Women in Industry: North South Connections. Ottawa. Ong, Aihwa. (1987). "Disassembling Gender in the Electronics Age - Review Essay". Feminist Studies. 13. No. 3. Fall:609-626. Ong, Aihwa. (1983). "Global Industries and Malay Peasants in Peninsular Malaysia". In Women, Men and the International Division of Labor. June Nash and Maria Patricia Fernandez-Kelly (eds.). State University of New York Press: Albany. Personal Communication, HSA, 1999. Personal Communication, IDA, 1999. Personal Communication, SIPTU(a), 1999. Personal Communication, SJPTU (b), 1999. Porte, Jing. (1985). "Women Workers Movement in the Philippines - KMK and its Organization". ISIS International Women's Journal. Industrial Women Workers in Asia. No. 4:September.  -117-  Pyle, Jean L. (1990). "Female Employment and Export-led Development in Ireland: Labour Market Impact of State-reinforced Gender Inequality in the Household". In Women, Employment and the Family in the International Division of Labour. Sharon Stichter and Jane Parpart (eds). The Macmillan Press Ltd. London. Rios, Palmira N. (1990). "Export-Oriented Industrialization and the Demand for Female Labor: Puerto Rican Women in the Manufacturing Secotr, 1952-1980". Gender and Society. Vol. 4, No. 3. September: 321-337. Robinson, J. Gregg and Mcllwee, Judity. (1989). "Obstacles to Unionization in High-Tech Industries". Work and Occupations. Vol. 16. No. 2. May: 115-136. Rostow, W.W. (1962). The Stages of Economic Growth. A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge University Press. Rothman et al. (Eds.) (1995). Strategies of Community Intervention. Macro Practice. FE. Peacock Publishers, Inc.: Itasca, Illinois. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989. Safety. Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 1993. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Carcinogens) Regulations, 1993. Safety. Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations, 1994. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations, 1994. SCCOSH (Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health). (1996). Struggle and Strength. Talesfromthe Workers' Stories Process SCCOSH (1998). Commemorative Program Book SVTC (Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition) (2001) (a),  svtc.org/hightech-prod/index.html.  SVTC (2001) (b). svtc.org/resource/news-let/drkside.htm.  - 118-  SVTC (2001) (c). www.igc.org/svtc/listserv/letter56.htm. Safa, Helen I. (1990). "Women and Industrializaiton in the Caribbean". In Women, Employment and the Family in the International Division of Labour. Sharon Stichter and Jane Parpart (eds.). The Macmillan Press Ltd. London. Salaff, Janet W. (1990). "Women, the Family and the State: Hong Kong, Twiwan, Singapore - Newly Industrialized Countries in Asia". In Women, Employment and the Family in the International Division of Labour. 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Canadian Women's Studies. Les Cahiers de la Femme. 7:(2): 31-38.  - 120-  APPENDIX  PARTICIPANT #  INTERVIEW SCHEDULE S T U D Y T I T L E : H E A L T H A N D S A F E T Y IN E L E C T R O N I C S P R O D U C T I O N : T H E E X P E R D Z N C E S O F 50 W O M E N IN C O R K , I R E L A N D T H E F O L L O W I N G QUESTIONS A R E INTENDED T O PROVIDE DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION 1.1  Sex - Are you Female Male  (circle one) 1 2  1.2  Marital Status - Are you Single (never married) Married Separated Divorced Widowed  (circle one) 1 2 3 4 5  1.3  Do you have children? No Yes  (circle one) 1 2  If yes, how many children? 1.4  What is the highest level of education that you achieved? Primary School Intermediate Certificate Leaving Certificate College University  (circle one) 1 2 3 4 5  1.5  In which category does your wage for last year best fit (in Irish pounds)? (circle one) 1 2 3 4 5 6  Below 5,000 Between 6,000 and 10,000 Between 11,000 and 15,000 Between 16,000 and 20,000 Between 21,000 and 25,000 Over 26,000  - 122 -  -2-  1.6  How old are you Under 15 16-24 25-34.. 35-44 45-54 Over 55  (circle one)  9  1 2 3 4 5 A  1.7  What is your job title?  1.8  Describe the work you do.  1.9  How long have you worked at this job?  1.10  How long have you worked in this line of work?  1.11  What is the name of the company you currently work for?  1.12  What are the names of the electronics companies yon have previously worked for?  THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE INTENDED TO GATHER INFORMATION ON WORKERS' GENERAL HEALTH 2. A  BRIEF HISTORY OF PRESENT ILLNESS  2. A. 1 Do you have any health concerns at this time? Detailed assessment (including dates of onset and treatments)  -  123  -  (Circle one) Y/N  -3-  2.J3.1 PERTINENT M E D I C A L HISTORY (Include major hospitalizations, surgeries, physical or psychiatric illnesses, communicable or blood borne diseases, dates of onset and treatments received)  2.B.2  How many sick days did you take from work in the last year? What were the reasons for these sick days?  2.C  ALLERGIES/REACTIONS  2.C. 1 Do you have any allergies? (drugs, food, latex/rubber, or any other type)  (Circle one) Y/N  Detailed assessment including dates of onset and treatments  2D  MEDICATIONS  2.D. 1 Are you currently taking any medications? (include prescription drugs, herbs, non-prescription drugs or remedies) Detailed assessment including dosage and frequency if applicable  - 124 -  (Circle one) Y/N  - 4-  2.E  PAIN  2.E. 1 Have you experienced pain in the last 24 hours? If yes, describe the location and nature of the pain  2.E.2 What do you understand to have caused the pain?  2.E.3 Do you have any other conditions that cause pain? (Specify)  SYSTEMS ASSESSMENT  2.F  NEUROLOGICAL SYSTEM  - 125 -  (Circle one) Y/N  -52.F. 1 Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle) Paralysis Seizures Dizziness Numbness Tingling Headaches Pain Alteration in level of consciousness Alteration in gait or balance Difficulty in expressing self.  Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Detailed assessment  2.G 2.G. 1  RESPIRATORY S Y S T E M Have you had or do you currently have a cough? If yes, is this cough? (a) Productive (mucus) (b) Unproductive  (Circle one) Y/N (Circle one) 1 2  Detailed assessment  2.G.2  Have you ever experienced or do you currently experience shortness of breath?  -  126  -  (Circle one) Y/N  -6Detailed assessment  2.H CIRCULATORY SYSTEM 2.H. 1 Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle one) Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Hypertension Chest pain Edema (swollen ankles) Cyanosis (purple) Detailed assessment (noting pallor if applicable)  2.1  GASmOINTESTINAL/NTJTRITION  2.1.1  How would you describe your appetite? Good Fair Poor  (Circle one) 1 2 3  2.1.2  Are you on a special diet?  (Circle one) Y/N  If yes, detail  -  127  -  -7-  2.1.3  Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle) Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Noticeable weight loss Noticeable weight gain Nausea Vomiting Detailed assessment  2.1.4  Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle) Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Constipation Diarrhea Pain Laxative use Detailed assessment  2.J  URINARY SYSTEM  2. J. 1 Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle) Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Frequency Discharge Incontinence Urgency Pain (Burning) Nocturia (night-wetting) - 128 -  -8Detailed assessment  2.K  MUSCULOSKETAL SYSTEM Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle) Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Joint stiffness Muscular weakness History of falls Deformity Contracture(s) Pain at rest Pain during activity Detailed assessment  2.L  SKIN Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? Rash Lesions Redness/Discolouration Broken skin Bruises Pain  ;  ~  Detailed assessment  -  129 -  (Circle) Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N-  -9-  2.M  VISION  2.M  Have you ever or are you currently experiencing any of the following? (Circle) Blurred vision Blindness Redness Discharge  Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N  Detailed assessment (note use of corrective aids - glasses, lenses)  2.N  REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM  2.N.1  Are you any of the following? Pre-menarche Post-menopausal Pregnant  2.N.2  Are you currently or have you experienced? Vaginal discharge Perineal sores  (Circle one) 1 2 3  Detailed assessment  -  130 =  (Circle) Y/N Y/N  - 10-  2.N.3 How would you best describe your menstrual cycle? Regular Irregular 2.N.4 How would you best describe your menstrual Heavy Medium Light 2.N.5 Have you ever had any miscarriages? Yes No  (Circle one) 1 2 flow?  (Circle one) 1 2 3 (Circle one) 1 2  If yes, how many? Detailed assessment  2.0  CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY SCREENING  2.0.1 How many hours do you usually sleep per night? 2.0.2 Do you ever use sleep assists?  (Circle one) Y/N  Detailed assessment  2.0.3 Do you smoke? If yes, how many cigarettes per day? - 131 -  (Circle) Y/N  -11 If no, have you ever smoked?  Y/N  If yes, for how long? 2.0.4  Tell me about your use of alcohol, medications and/or drugs  2.0.5  Have you ever felt you ought to cut down on your use of alcohol, medications and/or drugs?  (Circle) Y/N  2.0.6  Have you ever felt guilty about your use of alcohol, medications and/or drugs?  (Circle) Y/N  2.0.7  Have you ever used alcohol, medications and/or drugs to get your day started or "to steady your nerves"?  (Circle) Y/N  Detailed assessment  THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE INTENDED TO GATHER INFORMATION ON WORKPLACE SAFETY 3.1  Have you received training on workplace health and safety?  (Circle one)  Y/N If yes, describe this training.  _ 132 -  - 12-  Do you have any concerns about your workplace safety?  (Circle one)  Y/N If yes, describe these concerns  Who, if anyone, would you relay workplace safety concerns to?  Have you had cause, in the past, to voice concerns about workplace safety? (Circle one)  Y/N If yes, describe what happened.  Do you handle toxic products?  (Circle one)  Y/N Are you trained to recognize the toxic products you use?  (Circle one)  Y/N If yes, describe this training  - 133 -  - 13-  3.7  Can you tell me some of the known effects of the materials you handle?  3.8  Do you use protective equipment during your work day? (including goggles, masks, gloves, earplugs, clothing and/or shoes)  (Circle one) Y/N  3.9  (a) Is protective equipment provided in your workplace? (including goggles, masks, gloves, earplugs, clothing and/or shoes)  (Circle one) Y/N  If yes, describe the equipment provided  (b)  If provided, do you use this equipment?  (Circle one) Y/N  If not, explain why  (c)  If you do not use the equipment are there repercussions?  Explain  - 134 -  (Circle one) Y/N  - 14-  3.10  Are change areas provided in your workplace for you to change into protective clothing?  (Circle one) Y/N  3.11  If you do not wear protective clothing in the workplace, do you change your clothing once you return home?  (Circle one) Y/N  4.0  Is there anything not covered in this interview that you would like to comment on? Detail  5.0  Are there closing comments and/or suggestions that you would like to make? Detail  W O U L D Y O U B E INTERESTED IN M E E T I N G W I T H O T H E R W O M E N T O E X C H A N G E INFORMATION A N D / O R C O N C E R N S A B O U T T H E H E A L T H H A Z A R D S ASSOCIATED WITH E L E C T R O N I C S PRODUCTION WORK? IF Y E S , P L E A S E SIGN T H E INFORMATION E X C H A N G E SIGN-UP SHEET.  T H A N K Y O U FOR Y O U R TIME A N D PARTICIPATION IN THIS STUDY. -  135  -  s APPENDIX "A" In vour current work do you come into contact with any of the following substances by breathing, touching or direct exposure? If so, please check beside me substance: Acids Alcohols (Industrial) Alkalis Ammonia Arsenic Asbestos Benzene BeiYllium Cadmium Carbon tetrachloride Chlorinated napthalenes Chloroform Chloroprene Chromates Coal dust Cold (severe) Dichlorobenzene  Detailed assessment:  Epoxies or glues Ethylene dibromide Ethylene dichloride . Fiberglass Freons Heat (severe) Isocvanates Ketones Lead Mercury Methylene chloride Nickel Noise (loud) PCBs or other diphenyls Perchloroethylene  Pesticides Phenol Phosgene Radiation , Rock dust Silica powder Solvents Styrsne Talc Toluene Trichloroethane Tricliloroethylene Trinitrotoluene Vibration Vinyl chloride Welding or soldering fumes X-rays Xylene  

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