Work Relations and Helping in the Lives of Amazon Rural Women Workers


  • Cláudia Regina Brandão Sampaio
  • Socorro de Fátima Moraes Nina
  • Rosângela Dutra de Moraes


Changes in methods of agricultural production have impacted on the lives of those involved in this sector. New social relations, technologies, values and landscapes have been introduced as well as potential risks to health. Female workers have a specific experience that requires a closer analysis to understand their situation. The research addresses the interrelationship of health, work, and the environment of women agriculturalists in a rural Amazonian community. This focus allows the identification and understanding of relations between the women and the actors with whom they share daily activities and the implications for health, work, and self-image. Using qualitative methods the experiences of 47 women were captured through collective interviews, which were analysed by Nucleus of Meaning Analysis (NMA), adapted from Categorical Content Analysis. Work is central to the lives of the women workers but is attributed with different meanings depending on the context and the relationship. It was found that the relationship with employers increases the risk of workplace exploitation; with male partners work is characterised as ‘helping’. Work with female co-workers increases a sense of identity, strengthens social bonds and an ability to solve problems. In conclusion, in addition to issues related to production methods, the subjective relational universe of these workers is marked by a complexity that impacts on their lives and health. The authors suggest that research on the impact of daily life and workplace on health considers the different and complex relations and subjective demands, especially in contexts endowed with uniqueness.