Women in Comparative Societies
Future Progress for Women:  Reshaping Globalization

Based on chapter by the same title in the UNIFEM report

Overriding point:  need to “mainstream gender” in economic policymaking

Can you define gender mainstreaming?  How is it explained in the chapter?

Globalization:  the ability of capitalists to move goods and money around the globe more easily and quickly than ever before

What are the effects of globalization on women?

One resounding point of the chapter is that globalization affects the genders differently but that the entities responsible for global governance -   WTO, IMF, World Bank – seldom make this fact a part of their diagnosis and prescriptions for development.

Now, some moves toward incorporating a gender critique into global governance, but
the prescriptions are often the same and reflect uncritical beliefs

1) that “a rising tide raises all boats,” i.e, that globalization is a “win-win” that the poor in both developed and developing countries are becoming better off as a result of globalization

2) that trade liberalization and fiscal austerity are the best development strategies to be pursued internationally and domestically;  that these have only good effects or, at least, their good effects outweigh their bad

3) that microfinancing, microcredit organization and schemas are THE way to help poor women in the developing world become empowered (i.e., economic indebtedness ? economic empowerment ? household and political empowerment)  Does this causal argument prove true in the case of your country/region?????

4) ICT (information and communication technology) – new possibilities for organizing and economic development BUT access to it stratified by wealth and gender

Let’s take each of these in turn:

1) globalization is a “win-win”  Is this true according the authors of the UNIFEM report?
Consider that openness to world economy has differential impact on poor and rich, i.e., it is negatively correlated with income growth for the poorest 40% of the population but strongly and positively correlated with growth among higher income groups (152)

Do women “win” as a result of globalization?

Answer:  not uniformly. Benefits mainly accrue to the most privileged women.

Regression in some places.  Where??
e.g. Bangladesh – women extended credit lose control over the money – taken by their male relatives – and then abused by them more out of resentment, fear.

Other places – increase indebtedness of women and then businesses fail.  Often don’t have skills or ability to compete in ever more competitive global market

Places where women’s bargaining power has been enhanced, e.g., women in light industry becoming unionized – worse off – corporations leave, go some where else.  In many cases, unionization or demands for better working conditions NOT MADE AT ALL because of fear of capital flight.

See Chart 6.1:  Gender Inequality and Economic Growth
Lose-win, win-win, win-lose, lose-lose – which describes your country???

2) specific policies, esp. trade liberalization and fiscal austerity – these affect men and women differently – not generally considered by financial decision makers (neither international nor domestic)

see Table 6.2:  Analytical Matrix of Interactions Between Gender and the Finance Ministry

**has columns on “differential impact on the well-being of men and women,” Human reproduction and the “care economy,” and Gender power relations

Opportunity to bring in here that women are more TIME POOR than men (because of their domestic and childrearing responsibilities)

Note the limits to the approach, however, pg. 151: the IMF does not have a consultative approach to economic policymaking (nor does WTO nor do many domestic governments – how to change this???)
Risk capital flight – “exercise their exit option” if policies are seen as diminishing their bottom line – do women friendly policies and business practices (e.g. necessarily cost more?  What are the qualitative benefits of them?

3) microfinancing – has gotten a lot of attention; has made a crucial difference for hundreds of thousands of women and their families to be sure but not a panacea.

Examples from the chpt. – success stories:  Grameen Telecom Village Phone initiative (visit them at www.telecommons.com/villagephone)
uses microcredit to allow Bangladeshi women to buy GSM cellular phones; the women then sell phone calls and phone services to other village women who come to their homes
Not in chapter, but women use microcredit to buy bike taxis in Kenya

Not so successful:  Cotilda the shoe maker (can’t compete) 152; women in Bangladesh

4) ICT opportunities: using the web and email lists to publicize atrocities quickly and worldwide – helpful in Bosnia and Kosovo, less helpful in Afghanistan under the Taliban (although some effect), even less in Rwanda;
telecentres – for community use

this reflects ICT inequalities in access and wealth generating capacity
Consider that the top 10 corporations control 60% of total revenues in the computer industry and 86% of revenues in telecommunications

Also consider that the annual cost of an internet connection is
2.7% of per cap GDP in the UK
3.5% in Argentina and South Africa
15.3% in Latvia

In high income countries there are 470.2 internet connection per 10,000 people
In low income countries there are .17!!!