7 Pages

of men's absence and women having to carry a double burden of course,

has been the rapid commodification of many aspects of family and social life. All manner of things become items for sale on the market-instant foods, clean- ing services, child care, wedding parties, funeral ceremonies, and, personal companionship and sexual intercourse. In extreme cases, companion- ship and sex may virtually disappear between husband and wife, filled for the

Atsumi Reiko's article on the difficulties faced by employed married women highlights one of the most important strategies business has followed in its neo-Taylorist restructuring-<iiscrimination against women workers to fill the business need for a flexible pool of low-paid floating labor that could be hired and fired at will. As Atsumi notes, the great majority of the millions of additional women entering the work force from 1975 onwards were married (by the mid1980s over half of married women held jobs). Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of these women could only find part-time or temporary work in factories, offices, and service jobs like supermarket, janitorial, and cleaning work. Whether or not the feminization of the part-time workforce represents conscious business policy, patriarchal attitudes, women's preferences, or is a result of constant ideological conditioning about the primacy of the women's domestic roles, the outcome is the same--overwork. In fact, women did not passively accept their exclusion from the better jobs assigned to men. They fought for equal opportunity for women in the workplace. Although the legislative battle for an effective equal employment opportunity law was lost and women are still excluded from the secure and well-paid regular jobs available to men,49 the issue itself is still very much alive in the 1990s.