WOMEN'S EXPLOITATION 29
The relationship between the wages that capitalist enterprises may offer tq differing categories of workers and the existence of a widespread sector of economic activity not directly organised by capital cannot be understood solely in simple economic terms. There are important political and social dimensions to the problem. The ability of capital to dictate the optimal conditions for its own survival and the differences in variation in resistance to proletarianisation by labour are important aspects which influence the specifics of the labour situation. Therefore, the inconsistencies, contradictions and competing forces within the social and economic system influence the specifics of the situation.
According to Moser and Young, there are two major factors within the structure of capitalist organisation of production and the relations of production, which enables women's work to be unpaid and invisibilised, or poorly paid and marginalised.3 They are i) the privatisation of women's work, and the constitution of women as subsidiary or secondary workers. Historically, increasing stratification by gender has accompained the development of industrial capitalism and the loss of the family's role as a primary unit of social production, through the separation of the three functions of production, consumption and distribution. Women's labour became age-specific and sector-specific and, moreover, became increasingly privatised and directed to the transformation of the wage into use values for consumption within the home, their main task being to stretch the man's wage so that it would cover the main needs of the family.4 Thus women have never been fully proletarianised.
The movement of women in and out of the labour force is a complex process which requires the identification and analysis of two sets of relations :
the relations of production and the relations of gender, at specific historical conjunctures, and their implications in terms of the categories and types of activities in which women are engaged. The view of women as somehow outside the labour force, outside the mainstream of economic life, and the designation of certain sectors of the economy as women's work, bears the imprint of an ideology. Heyzer points out that women tend to be segregated into particular occupations which are carefully delimited by an ideology, linking their activity to their gender, with the vast majority, therefore working in occupations defined as having some structural resemblance to their family role, or which over time has become, stigmatised simply because women work in them.5
• Kerala is an industrially backward state. According to the 1971 Census, the industrial sector provided employment only to 15.73 pet cent of the labour force. The State has the sixth position in the country in terms of the size of the household manufacturing sector of industry, measured in terms of employment. Total employment in the manufacturing sector as in 1974-75 was 1279887, of which 98.75 per cent was contributed by the household sector.6 The traditional industries employ 82.33 per cent of the total labour force in the industrial sector, of which 62.83 per cent are women.7 Most of these industries partakes the characteristics of lower forms of capitalist production,