Gender and globalization

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• Globalization – the growing integration of
  economies and societies around the world – is
  a complex process that is variously affecting
  different regions, countries and areas and
  their populations. The complex and
  contradictory impacts of globalization are
  notably marked in the situation of women in
  the Asia Pacific region.
• Globalization has enhanced employment
  opportunities for women, where previously
  they had not existed.
• The migration of women in search of
  employment opportunities has helped to ease
  the problem of poverty in many cases and
  meet the labour needs of a number of
• Globalization has also contributed to the
  creation of new associations of women and
  the strengthening of their networks to offer
  mutual support and resources.
• In several countries in the region, new
  information and communications technology
  (ICT) have improved the access of women to
  health, microcredit, employment
  opportunities and information in general.
As globalization begun to take hold, women have quickly
     emerged as one of the driving forces behind the
recent dynamic performance of the region through their
    increased participation in the manufacturing and
  services sector and the remittances they sent home.
 Concerns of women became increasingly marginalized.
 As female unemployment rose, more women would resort to the informal
 sector and petty trading as the formal sector became increasingly unable
 to absorb them.

 There were further fears that the social consequences of the deterioration
  in economic conditions could result in increasing commercialization

 and growing commodification of women as evidenced by higher incidence
 of trafficking and sexual exploitation.

With increased frustration brought about by the economic crisis, violence
  against women
 could also increase with a resurgence in traditionalist sentiments.
However, globalization has further reinforced
 many existing gender inequalities
• The traditional sexual division of labour has
  been furthered through the addition of new
  locations and forms of work. What remains
  constant is the low economic value accorded
  to work performed primarily by women in
  conditions of exploitation, no job security and
  violations of human rights
• Perhaps the most critical of the impacts of
  globalization on women is the worsening
  situation of violence against women. One
  aspect of this deserves urgent attention – the
  trafficking of women and girls
• The development of an agenda on the
  elimination of violence against women has
  radically changed international standards on
  harmful traditional and cultural practices from
  the original limited perspective of harm to
Violence against women was recognized as an
  infringement of women’s rights to equality
  and freedom from discrimination in all the
  specific areas
• This general recommendation identified
  violence against women as a common
  phenomenon that infringed on the human
  rights of women all over the world. It
  recognized that violence against women
  impacted to deprive women not only of their
  right to health but of other rights, such as to
  employment and equality in the family,
  reinforcing the indivisibility and universality of
  human rights under international law
• Recent migration patterns in the Asian-Pacific region
  showed an increasing feminization of virtually all major
  streams of population movements, both within and
  across national borders in most countries.
• A variety of factors had influenced such a
  phenomenon, including the growing demand of the
  manufacturing sector for inexpensive and flexible
  The growth of the industrial sector had
  proceeded in line with greater financial sector
  integration with a decisive impact on the pace and
  direction of globalization
• The countries such as Indonesia, Philippines,
  Malaysia and Thailand which had actively
  pursued export-oriented industrialization
  strategies had seen an upsurge in female
  migration from rural areas to urban centres with
  the bulk of them finding employment in the
  manufacturing and services sectors. Women have
  dominated internal migration flows into the
  special economic zones (SEZs) established in
  some of these countries
 There was clear evidence of abuse and exploitation in all parts of
 the global migration system in which women migrants had become
 most vulnerable, particularly in illegal and low-paying jobs.

 Despite such abuse, migration had opened up individual households
 to new opportunities for earning an income and create an asset
 base, contributing to the empowerment of women.

However, such empowerment would not come automatically to
 women migrant workers. Much would depend on the pre-migration
 status and the conditions in the destination countries in receipt of
 women workers, such as access to social welfare services and
 banking facilities, freedom of movement, and the right to vote
Women migrant workers contributed significantly
to the foreign exchange earnings of their countries
through remittances. It was increasingly evident
that such remittances could be used to further
improve the social and economic status of women
in the home countries through prudent investment
in social and physical infrastructure.
Thus, it was important to realize that in the
absence of carefully designed policies and
programmes, such remittances could be frittered
away by husbands and family members at home,
leaving next to nothing to those migrants who
returned after working abroad.
Whereas migration might make women better off
economically they however, often encountered
 social and cultural difficulties and hardships in
trying to adapt to their new work place and
It was therefore important to understand the
cultural impact of migration on migrant women,
by both the sending and destination countries.
Since many of these women were being
drawn from the rural sector where they were
engaged in unpaid household or agricultural
work, these technological innovations
provided a useful means to reduce the gender
gap in earnings, although this could take place
at the risk of further encouraging feminization
of low-wage, semi-skilled employment
opportunities.                  #

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