International Capitalism and Gender

1256 Words6 Pages
International economic forces has the ability to transform a society for better or for worse; but, divorcing from their influence when things go south is not simple, for a culture becomes embedded in a transnational system of politics and economics that dictates the culture’s role within the big picture of capitalism. To make sense of changes that occur as a result of capitalism, society defines the meanings of the networks that form society (e.g., kinship or ethnicity). One category we continuously see being utilized is that of gender, a social construct that allows us to comprehend differences between groups of people. As with other categories of differences, these groups help determine who reaps the benefits of international economic forces and who doesn’t. The cultural ideologies of gender influence international economic forces by redefining the values placed on labor produced in the public and the private spheres, and thus identify a woman's status in an economy governed by the rules of political power. In order to fully understand the roles of current ideologies of gender, we must first discuss what they are. The larger theme here is the division of labor that exists between the genders. It is worth mentioning here that by gender, I am referring to the Westernized view of the term, for many ethnographic works have disapproved this dichotomized view of gender (e.g., the berdaches and the hirjas). Returning to the division of labor, Western society has created a gendered culture that places men in the public sphere (workforce) and leaves women in the private sphere, or at least attempts to. In Louise Lamphere’s essay “The Domestic Sphere of Women and the Public World of Men”, attention is drawn to the idea that in ... ... middle of paper ... ... status on an international economy level. Women’s status has been directly influenced by international economic forces, for these forces generally promote the spread of capitalistic ideals. Capitalism is formed around a Westernized ideology, and so, the dichotomized view of gender is evident. Though social stigmas have kept women out of the workforce, many have combated them by incorporating private life with public life. Gender is another way in which we come to view differences; however, differences do not denote inability. As women who work the “second shift” have shown, combining the two spheres is realistic even both genders pull their weight. In sum, the intricacies of political economy within everyday life complicates the role of gender and proves that we need to first change our political economy before we can expect to see changes in gender roles.
Open Document