Conclusions/Research Limitations

Women in maquiladoras are hypersexualised and treated as temporary workers, thus entangling them with the commodities that they are employed to produce. The rape and murders occurring in maquiladora districts reveal the processes of disposability that are enacted upon their bodies.

The difficulties with developing definitive conclusions around the murders and disappearances of women in maquiladoras are centered on the lack of real answers to who is committing the crimes. The state impunity that permeates through working conditions, worker rights and even persecution for crimes in maquiladoras reveals an environment of disposability, which transfers from goods to people and labour.

Internet searching and media representations also reveal a tendency to place the blame for violence on the lawlessness created by the rampant presence of drug cartels in U.S-Mexican border regions. While this is a factor, especially when the high rates of male murders are noted, it should not overshadow the process of disposability that is enacted through its twin process of globalisation. Namely, focusing on drug wars allows for the assignment of responsibility away from the international corporations that operate in these areas. Taking advantage of the cheap, disposable labour and environment of governmental non-involvement, international businesses, mainly American ones, are implicated in creation of the disposable person and, in this case, the disposable woman.

The dearth in available data or statistics on these murders also makes conclusions difficult. Is it Mexican men who, facing the invasion of foreign forces, the sexualisation of femininity and deteriorating social traditions, are taking out their frustrations on the bodies of female maquiladora workers? Or, in treating women as disposable, through the transference of this concept from capitalist disposability, are American business managers ridding themselves of women who threaten to be a drain on resources through claims like maternity leave?

Definitive answers to these important questions escape our brief exploration. The importance in posing them, however, is the creation of a space that acknowledges a reality where women who work in maquiladoras become Disposable cogs in a system. This reality is created from all levels of Mexican social, economic and political structures and from the outside influences allowed for by globalisation. This incriminates the social, economic and political systems of a plethora of nations internationally.

The web of entangled processes, factors and structures becomes ever complicated the closer one looks into finding answers. Here, we have attempted to provide information rather than outright answers, and offer theoretical frameworks to clarify the entwined factors that connect superficially unconnected facts.