Women in the Workforce

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Women in the Workforce The integration of the world economy, or economic globalization, has been an operating force for centuries. However, in recent times the effects of this phenomenon have become a major cause for debate. Economic globalization is characterized and supported by free trade, the transcending of ideas and business infrastructures across national boundaries, increased capital flows, advanced communication systems, and an increased interdependence of national economies. It is a result of increased access to information, technology, knowledge and opportunities. The debate surrounding globalization however centers on how this increased access manifests itself in different countries, particularly underdeveloped and developing nations. Proponents of globalization argue that it creates expanded channels for employment, promotes broader and more substantial economic growth, allows for higher incomes, and improves quality of life. Critics say, among other things, that while this may be true for some people, globalization is also functioning to marginalize underdeveloped countries and minority groups around the world. In the context of these two perspectives, I will examine a very important minority group who have, particularly over the past twenty years, become an increasingly important part of the labor force, women. In order to do this, I will first present some statistical data regarding women’s participation in the labor force. This data will show that women indeed have been affected significantly by globalization. In addition I will present a more qualitative look at how globalization has affected the lives of women by concentrating on several specific examples of women’s experiences in different countries. This is a statistical overview of women in the workforce. Female participation in the workforce ranges widely from 60% in some industrialized countries to about 10% in North Africa and Western Asia, averaging at about 43% as of 2000. This means that an average of 43% of women in the world work. This level of female participation is significantly higher than it was 20 years ago (Table 1), and is expected to reach an average of 48% by the year 2010. Table 1. Percentage of women that work Year Percent of women who work 1980 34 1985 36.5 1990 37.2 1995 39.5 2000 43.2 In the overall workforce, made up of approximate... ... middle of paper ... ...tes and Projections of the Economically Active Population, 1950-2010. 5. Horton, Susan. Marginalization Revisited: Women’s Market Work and Pay, and Economic Development. 1999. 27 World Development: p571. Also see, Mehra, Rekha and Sarah Gammage. Trends, Countertrends, and Gaps in Women’s Employment Trends, Countertrends, and Gaps in Women’s Employment. 1999. World Development, 27: p533. 6. Aman, Alfred C. Introduction: Feminism and Globalization: The Impact of the Global Economy on Women and Feminist Theory, 1999. 4 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 1, 4. 7. Martha Chen et al. Counting the Invisible Workforce: The Case of Homebased Workers. 1999.World Development, 27: p603. 8. The World Bank Group. Data and Statistics – World Development Indicators. 2002. (See http://devdata.worldbank.org - Women in Development – About the Data). 9. Ministry of Labor. Data available at MOL's Website (See: http://www.mol.go.jp). 10. Rape for Profit: Trafficking of Nepali Girls and Women to India's Brothels. Human Rights Watch. October 2000, Vol. 12, No. 5 (A). 11. Over 60 million women fallen victim to sex discrimination. Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay, Ltd.) July 24, 1997.

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