Back states: What a wondrous world we live in: thousands of googaws at our fingertips and so cheap we can have as many as we can stuff into overflowing homes. But how exactly can something made by a human being be so cheap?
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Sweatshop is a working environment with unhealthy conditions that are considered by many people of industrialized nations to be difficult or dangerous, usually where the workers have few opportunities to address their situation. This can include exposure to harmful materials, hazardous situations, extreme temperatures, or abuse from employers. Sweatshop workers often work long hours for little pay, regardless of any laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage. Child labor laws may also be violated.
Although often associated with poor developing countries, sweatshops may exist in any country. Sweatshops have existed in several different countries and cultures, including in the United States and Europe. Sweatshops usually employ low levels of technology, but may produce many different goods, for example, toys, shoes, clothing, and furniture.
The division of labour in sweatshops is gendered because the vast majority of workers are young women. The problems faced by many workers are also gendered because gender-based notions of what is acceptable inform working conditions.
Chinese national, Chun Yu Wang, in her 2009 book, Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan, provides the only known first-hand account of factory work conditions and life in the barracks, and provides revealing insights from a Chinese perspective into the experience typical of many of the female garment factory workers on Saipan.