Women and Globalization

Women and Globalization

Mercedes Sánchez-Apellániz (University of Seville, Spain), Miriam Núñez (University of Seville, Spain) and Maria José Charlo-Molina (University of Seville, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-332-4.ch009
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There are two schools of thought in analyzing the effects of globalization on women. One school, basically optimistic but with some reserves, argues that participation in global trade and in financial markets will improve the situation of all citizens, including women. The other has got a more critical perspective and argues that economic globalization will further increase existing inequalities and will lead to new ones. Both sides of the discussion on the effects of globalization on women are valid, but there is a the need to go beyond the sterile debate on whether globalization is good or bad, and reach a more constructive and wider-scope debate on how to achieve the best possible outcomes of globalization for women. Globalization must be analyzed from a multidimensional perspective and it is only by means of this process and by analyzing the real experiences of actors in adapting to globalization that we can understand the true outreach of globalization. According to this alternative perspective and in trying to develop a constructive debate on the impact of globalization on women a set of practices have to be detected, analyzed, and promoted in order to minimize the negative impacts of globalization on women and reinforce the positive ones. They include, among others: cultural change; sustained and mutually-agreed action programs among business schools, companies, and other interest groups such as the public sector; and removing the glass ceiling in MNCs, including codes of conduct as a part of their corporate social responsibility.
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Economic globalization is a process tending towards neoliberal economic policy reforms (such as deregulation and privatization) and increases in capital, goods, services and workforce movement (Richards and Gelleny, 2007).

Economic theory on globalization’s impacts on growth and wellbeing does seldom make distinctions between genders. It is frequently assumed that women will pay the cost of market liberalization by an unquestionable loss of jobs, or of high-income jobs. However, trade theory suggests that a growing international trade should benefit women, especially in developing countries (Bussmann, 2008).

Globalization will turn some into winners and others into losers. Examining whether economic globalization helps to improve some aspects of women’s wellbeing, or if it rather hurts them, is important for various reasons (Gray, Kittilson and Sandholtz, 2006; Richards y Gelleny, 2007):

  • 1.

    Excluding gender in theoretical and empirical research leads to a distortion of, or even a blindness to ubiquitous political and social developments.

  • 2.

    Gender is one of the few division lines with social, cultural, political and economic implications worldwide. A focus on women allows us to address the impacts of globalization on a group which is at a disadvantage in all countries in the world.

  • 3.

    Economic globalization is being pushed by governments; we often refer to it as a “top-down globalization”. Those most negatively affected have no voice in its implementation process, and with no exception it is considered as a negative process leaving them without any option. Therefore, it is necessary to make the nature of such process more transparent.

This chapter intends to analyze the impact of globalization on women. It is divided into six sections. The first one analyzes what in most cases is understood as the dependent variable in the globalization process: quality of life, equality and status of women. The focus is on clarifying these terms, identifying the variables defining them and showing which indexes are most frequently use to assess them.

In the second and third sections the independent variable is analyzed, the globalization process and the two main areas it affects: economic aspects and socioeconomic ones.

The fourth section provides a comprehensive review of the literature addressing the impact of globalization on women’s quality of life. It includes a wide-scope perspective of the two main schools of thought: the more optimistic view, which considers that globalization may contribute to improve women’s quality of life; and a more critical school that considers that globalization will increased existing inequalities, and even create new ones.

The fifth section intends to provide an alternative perspective, which without denying the validity of the two previous perspectives, proposes a more constructive debate focusing on how to achieve the best possible results from globalization for women’s quality of life.

The sixth section includes a series of final remarks advocating for the need of a cultural change in which both institutions and organizations, especially multinational companies (MNCs) have a role to play.


Women’S Quality Of Life, Equality, And Status

In order to determine the impacts of the globalization process on women’s quality of life, equality and status it is first necessary to define what is understood under such terms and which variables are involved in their measurement.

Sudarkasa (1986) found in his comprehensive review of the concept “women’s status” as used in social science two conceptions. The first one refers to the condition of women in terms of a series of rights and obligations. The second refers to the relative position of men and women within a double level hierarchy.

For Richards and Gelleny (2007) the first conception would mean the international legislation containing specific gender protection and guarantees. The second conception analyses women’s status using men’s status as a reference.

They suggest a further conception, in which women’s status as the extent to which women are able, both in absolute and in relative terms, to exercise the rights encoded in a large corpus of international human rights law and to enjoy the benefits of those rights.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Charles Wankel, Shaun Malleck
Chapter 1
Dennis R. Briscoe
The scope of globalization continues to expand. More and more firms, large and small, from large countries and small countries, from developed... Sample PDF
Globalization and International Labor Standards, Codes of Conduct, and Ethics: An International HRM Perspective
Chapter 2
Julianne E. Maurseth
This chapter poses timely questions for us as global citizens regarding our capacities for ethical choice in a complex, interdependent world, and... Sample PDF
Embodied Ethics for Our Interdependent World: How Our Micro-Level Choices Lead to Macro-Level Impacts
Chapter 3
Nancy E. Landrum
In the past, there has historically been a pursuit of profit as the motive for multinational corporation (MNC) international strategies in emerging... Sample PDF
Unintended Consequences of Business with 4 Billion: Lessons Learned from First Generation BOP Strategies
Chapter 4
Barbara A. Ritter
The argument of this chapter will depend on two main precepts: (1) large corporations remain largely in control of the globalization process, and... Sample PDF
Racing to the Bottom?: The Effects of Globalization on Global Ethics
Chapter 5
Patrick Flanagan
Benedict XVI, the present pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, published Caritas in Veritate in June 2009. This third papal encyclical of his is... Sample PDF
Globalization in Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate
Chapter 6
Maslin Masrom, Zuraini Ismail
In this chapter, the authors will parse the current ethical issues in the information and communication technology research associated with the... Sample PDF
ICT Ethical Issues, Globalization and Knowledge Society
Chapter 7
Dennis P. Heaton, Ravi Subramaniam
This chapter analyzes the notion of corruptibility and its relation to recent high profile cases of corporate corruption and the development of... Sample PDF
An Eastern Approach to the Global Challenge of Corruptibility
Chapter 8
Win Phillips, Cheryl Rathert
In this chapter we discuss some of the most important moral issues and controversies in health ethics and how globalization widens and complicates... Sample PDF
Health Ethics in a Global Context
Chapter 9
Women and Globalization  (pages 119-140)
Mercedes Sánchez-Apellániz, Miriam Núñez, Maria José Charlo-Molina
There are two schools of thought in analyzing the effects of globalization on women. One school, basically optimistic but with some reserves, argues... Sample PDF
Women and Globalization
Chapter 10
Katherine Covell, Robin MacLean
The chapter will be grounded in theory and research with the WFP game and resource described as an example of how to make global citizenship... Sample PDF
Fighting Hunger the Rights Way: Using Videogames and Children’s Human Rights Education as a Means of Promoting Global Citizenship
Chapter 11
Mark G. Edwards, David A. Webb, Stacie Chappell, Mary C. Gentile
This chapter presents a multilevel approach to the practical expression of core values and ethical commitments in a globalised world. GVV is an... Sample PDF
Giving Voice to Values: A New Perspective on Ethics in Globalised Organisational Environments
Chapter 12
Alois A. Nugroho, Ati Cahayani
The chapter will try to identify the ethical issues concerning Indonesian labor migrants who work in Asian countries. If possible, it will give some... Sample PDF
Ethical Issues Concerning International Labor Migration: Indonesian Cases
Chapter 13
Ethics of Global Tourism  (pages 200-209)
Loykie Lomine
The global tourism industry may provide millions of jobs and billions of enjoyable days for travellers and holiday-makers, but it also requires... Sample PDF
Ethics of Global Tourism
Chapter 14
Roman Sukholutsky
A unified and peaceful cosmopolitan humanity is a state of political organization, which is clearly worthwhile, and presents values of political... Sample PDF
Cosmopolitanism and Ethics: Ethical Dilemmas in the Implementation of the Cosmopolitan Ideal
Chapter 15
George Tsogas
Water companies have attracted minimal attention in the corporate social responsibility literature. This chapter examines conceptual issues... Sample PDF
Corporate Social Responsibility in Water Services: A Developing Country Perspective
Chapter 16
Paul Roberts, Griselda Lassaga, Isabel Rimanoczy
Having identified key ethical considerations, a number of interviews will be conducted with people involved in these initiatives in three different... Sample PDF
A Critical Examination of the Assumptions, Beliefs and Ethical Considerations that Underlie Business Models of Global Poverty Reduction
Chapter 17
Audrey Bryan
The notion that our identity transcends local and national borders, captured in the now ubiquitous concepts of the “global” or “world” citizen, has... Sample PDF
Band-Aid Pedagogy, Celebrity Humanitarianism, and Cosmopolitan Provincialism: A Critical Analysis of Global Citizenship Education
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