2. How does globalization affect women?
Many critics fear that globalization, in the sense of integration of
a country into world society, will exacerbate gender inequality. It may
harm women-especially in the South--in several ways:
- Economically, through discrimination in favor of male workers, marginalization
of women in unpaid or informal labor, exploitation of women in low-wage
sweatshop settings, and/or impoverishment though loss of traditional
sources of income.
- Politically, through exclusion from the domestic political process
and loss of control to global pressures.
- Culturally, through loss of identity and autonomy to a hegemonic global
At the same time, many women's advocates recognize that globalization
affects different groups of women in different ways, creates new standards
for the treatment of women, and helps women's groups to mobilize. In situations
where women have been historically repressed or discriminated under a
patriarchal division of labor, some features of globalization may have
liberating consequences. While in many countries women remain at a significant
disadvantage, the precise role of globalization in causing or perpetuating
that condition is in dispute.
This report of the 2000 General Assembly special session reviews progress
made since the 1995 UN conference on women; it notes that globalization
presents opportunities to some women but causes marginalization of many
others; it advocates "mainstreaming" as the way to achieve gender equality.
and Globalization: Female Labor and Women's Mobilization
In this Journal of World-Systems Research article, Valentine Moghadam
argues that women play a distinct role in globalization, experience more
harmful effects, and become a constituency for antisystemic movements.
In this UNDP monograph, Lourdes Beneria and Sivitri Bisnath argue that
gender influences both the causes and consequences of poverty; to compensate
for women's weaker structural position and the bias in traditional development
policy, their needs now demand special attention.
Justice and Economic Justice
Gita Sen and Sonia Onufer Correa argue in this paper prepared for the
UNIFEM Beijing+5 review that the clash of free-market globalization and
patriarchal reactions poses new dilemmas for women committed to equality.
to Understand Feminism in the 21st Century
In this Journal of World-Systems Studies article, Torry Dickinson outlines
a feminist perspective on the uneven effects of "selective globalization"
a Feminist Analytics of the Global Economy
In this Indiana Global Legal Studies Journal article, Saskia Sassen argues
for a feminist approach to the study of globalization that shows how the
declining sovereignty of the state, evident in the new role of world cities
and the rise of new legal regimes, affects women.
Women's Human Rights
Charlotte Bunch and Samantha Frost chronicle the emergence of the concept
of women's human rights and the rise of organizations that support it.
Links to organizations working on the status of women, provided by the
Rutgers University Center for Women's Global Leadership.
(back to the top)
- What is globalization?
- How does globalization affect women?
- Does globalization cause poverty?
- Why are so many people opposed to globalization?
- Does globalization diminish cultural diversity?
- Can globalization be controlled?