Contexto de vida e trabalho de mulheres cortadoras de cana-de-açúcar / Work and life context of female sugar cane cutters


IBICT - Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia




The history of the lives and the work of female sugar cane cutters has been the theme of the present study, the subjects of this study were women associated with the Guariba syndicate, a country area of Sao Paulo within the region of Ribeirao Preto. The main objective of this study was to evidence the context of live and work of the female sugar cane cutters. The study had a qualitative approach; the methodology used was the Oral History of Life as resource to obtain data which was gathered in 2011. Ten female workers became subjects; two categories were identified in their speech: Life Context and Work Context in Life. Under the category of Life Context sub categories emerged in their speech: Migration, Family relations, Suffering, Pleasure, Defensive Strategies and Future prospective. Under the category of Work Context in Life, the following sub categories emerged: Child labour and Teenager labour; Pregnancy and work; Work Environment and Health changes; Suffering at work and pleasure at work. The majority of the workers is pardo (mulatto), their elementary education is incomplete, they are married and have two to three children respectively. Their life condition showed that the majority comes from the Southeastern region of Brazil and they possess aggressive and violent family relations. Work conditions showed that the majority worked as a child and/or during adolescence; during pregnancy even with difficulties in advanced gestational stage and in some descriptions their right to rest was not respected. Regarding the work environment the main issues presented were the presence of poisonous animals, the tool used to cut sugar cane that could wound them, rain, heat, dirty collective mean of transportation and the extreme physical strain. The main health changes mentioned were tiredness, pain, cramps, tendons alterations and dizziness. Work relations were considered to be good. When they started working, the majority learnt how to cut sugar cane with relatives or work colleagues and they taught the skill to new comers. The pleasure described is the possibility of helping their children, liking of the job and work colleagues. Regarding suffering many were described (leaving their children at home; illness; lack of money; presence of poisonous animals and family death); another type of suffering was the necessity to wake up early to work and after work to tend to housework chores and children care. The defensive strategies showed that the female workers put their trust in God and found their strength in their spirituality, family loss included, showing that they use this strategy to bear their life suffering. The main aspiration of the female sugar cane cutters is to have their own house where they could be with family members and have the safety of a place to live. The female workers demonstrated a complex life in the face of the social and environment factors with characteristics that lead to a contextual multi disciplinarity.


cana-de-açúcar female labour labour pleasure prazer sofrimento suffering sugar cane trabalhador trabalho trabalho de mulheres worker

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