Egyptian made

Women, Work, and the Promise of Liberation

Egyptian made cover Working in Egypt's centuries-old textile industry, Riham is a shrewd businesswoman who nevertheless struggles to attract workers to her garment factory and to compete in the global marketplace. Rania, who works on a factory assembly line, attempts to climb to a management rank but is held back by conflicts with coworkers and the humiliation of any unhappy marriage. Her colleague Doaa, meanwhile, pursues an education and independence but sacrifices access to her own children in order to get a divorce.

Alongside these stories, Chang shares her own experiences living and working in Egypt for five years, seeing through her own eyes the risks and prejudices that working women continue to face. She also weaves in the history of Egypt's vaunted textile industry, its colonization and independence, a century of political upheaval, and the history of Islam in Egypt, all of which shaped the country as it is today and the choices available to Riham, Rania, and Doaa. Following each woman's story from home to work, Chang powerfully observes the near-impossible balancing act that Egyptian women strike every day.


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Factory Girls

From Village to City in a Changing China

Factory Girls cover

Chang vividly portrays a world where nearly everyone is under thirty; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; and where lying about your age, education, and work experience is often a requisite for getting ahead. Chang brings us inside a sneaker factory so large that it houses its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department. She takes us to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monk-like devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness that have driven these workers to factory life in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family's migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation.

A book of global significance that provides new insight into China, Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as immigration to America's shores remade our own country a century ago.


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