Factory Girls

By Leslie T. Chang,

Book cover of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

Book description

An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China.

China has 130 million migrant workers—the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing,…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Factory Girls as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

How often do we consider the people behind the objects we use every day?

This book offers an unrivalled glimpse into the lives of the female workers who manufacture many of the products we take for granted and, in so doing, provides a human face to China’s rapid development. Through her interactions and interviews, Chang illustrates how the emergence of new industrial metropolises is transforming the opportunities and aspirations of young rural women.

While she does not shy away from showing the grittier aspects of China’s colossal factories, crucially, Chang demonstrates how their workers are autonomous individuals with concerns and…

A portrait of some of the millions of workers who toil in factories in southern China, most of whom are young women. They leave behind their families and work long hours for little money in boring, repetitive assembly line jobs, making mobile phones, toys, purses and other items for the rest of the world. The realities and challenges for the young women behind the goods we buy daily make this a compelling read.

From Sheridan's list on Asian women.

China’s remarkable economic rise was powered by the tens of millions of young migrants who left their villages to work hundreds of miles away in the factory sweatshops along China’s southern coast. Many were young women who lived in dormitory-style buildings and put up with financial and sometimes sexual abuse. The women are the subject of this engrossing book by a former Wall Street Journal reporter who follows their journeys. It’s hardly all dire. The cities offer freedom and opportunity too. (Interesting note: Hessler and Chang are married.)

From Bob's list on China by Western journalists.

China's economic miracle is based on millions of young village women who labor in the industrial zones along the coast. Chang's extensive interviews reveal the hidden hardships and intimate dreams of some factory women as they grew distant from their home villages. The rich stories show how rural women learn to be self-reliant and entrepreneurial in the city, learning new ways to work and love. They are not feminists in the Western sense but practical and resourceful in taking care of themselves in a tumultuous milieu. This book is a classic on rural women's unheralded contribution to China's rise as…

From Aihwa's list on people's lives in contemporary China.

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