The U.S.-Mexico border is a true contact zone. It is a physical place where two distinct cultures meet, conflict, and ultimately collide. For its inhabitants, the border is never an easy place to live in. In fact, Gloria Anzaldúa, who calls herself a “border woman,” describes the U.S.-Mexican border as a “1950 mile long open wound…a vague and undetermined place” (1, 3-4). Currently, a powerful characteristic that defines life on the border for many of its residents is the growing number of maquiladoras that have become a standard sight in any border town. Maquiladoras are essentially foreign owned factories that employ workers in U.S.-Mexico border towns for cheap labor. The border and the maquiladoras seem to share a unique synergy in today’s society. They are tightly tied together, each having mutual positive and negative qualities. For example, while the physical border can be a place of excitement and learning about another culture and way of life, the psychological border can be restrictive, an all-encompassing dividing line between those who are and those who are not. It separates “us from them” (Anzaldúa 3). Similarly, while the maquiladoras have brought jobs and economic commerce to border towns, they have also been characterized as having unhealthy working conditions that are detrimental to the workers and surrounding community. Today, the maquiladoras have certainly become a topic of much discourse because of their possible harmful effects on people’s health. An important issue is their effect on women’s health, since women compose the majority of the workforce in the maquiladoras. The influx of maquiladoras in the U.S....
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Guendelman, Sylvia and Monica Jasis Silberg. “The Health Consequences of Maquiladora Work: Women on the US-Mexican Border.” American Journal of Public Health 83 (1993): 37-44.
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