An increasing internationalization of economic activities in recent decades has led to relocation and restructuring of work processes in many parts of the world and in different sectors of the economy in labour-intensive industries. The search for greater flexibility in the labour market has enhanced the importance of 'atypical' work often falling within the so-called 'informal economy', in which female labour is prominent but can scarcely be traced in statistical records. A clear example of this restructuring in Southern Europe is industrial homeworking, which is carried out mainly by women within the context of the underground economy. In this article we try to shed light on the nature and function of women's industrial homeworking in different rural areas of Spain - Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia and Galicia - where economic restructuring has been particularly strong. While the type of work and the way homeworking is combined with other activities to boost household incomes varies between the regions, many of the women interviewees report similar experiences of homeworking, both positive and negative. In each case-study, however, it is clear that the choice to engage in homeworking is highly constrained. It is shaped by the restrictions deriving from gender roles and relations within the family and by the regional context.