Globalization and Technological Advancements

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How does gender relate to globalization?

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Gender's intersection with globalization is an incredibly complex and difficult topic. In general, globalization tends to open up employment opportunities for women in developing nations; however, many of these opportunities tend to be exploitative with poor pay, extreme conditions, and long work hours. Many women have culturally-imposed domestic responsibilities, which cut into their time away from work. In fact, globalized corporations have even begun to exploit "female" domestic skills for their own advantage. In her book Threads on the garment industry, Jane Collins quotes US corporate managers who told her that they moved their factories abroad because many women in developing countries (the so-called "Global South") are already sewing experts due to the work that they do at home. In this way, globalization turns the traditional skills that women develop due to their disadvantaged societal status into a temporary employment advantage. In other words, these employers exploit the domestic skills that women develop in the household (their superior sewing skills) to increase labor efficiency. Despite providing women an advantage in the labor market, the assumption of female domestic skill becomes a disadvantage in the workplace, as women are already expected to be trained at their jobs by virtue of their being female. In addition, the segregation of labor with women working "domestic" jobs solidifies cultural norms that consider the "female" domestic sphere separate from the "male" non-domestic sphere, reinforcing traditional prejudices and continuing the oppression of women. Anthropologist Anna Tsing, a valuable voice on this topic, refers to this type of gendered exploitation as the "superexploitation" of women.

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One effect of globalization on gender dynamics is the increase in employment for women, which is often exploitative of women in developing countries. The "feminization of labor" refers to the effects of globalization on women's work participation. Globalization has resulted in more flexible employment, which makes it easier for women with children to work, but with lower wages and deteriorating labor standards. While women have access to more jobs in the globalized economy, they are performing these jobs for lower pay in worse conditions than men in their countries, and without a decrease in their share of domestic and child-related responsibilities. Globalization has not solved other employment-related problems for women, including gendered segregation of occupation, the gender wage gap, and lack of job training. In many countries exploited for resources under globalization, including those in Latin America and East Asia, women are increasingly segregated to low-wage labor in the textile and garment industries.

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