Women, Work, and Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities

Routledge
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Women increasingly make up a significant percentage of the labor force throughout the world. This transformation is impacting everyone's lives. This book examines the resulting gender role, work, and family issues from a comparative worldwide perspective. Working allows women to earn an income, acquire new skills, and forge social connections. It also brings challenges such as simultaneously managing domestic responsibilities and family relationships. The social, political, and economic implications of this global transformation are explored from an interdisciplinary perspective in this book. The commonalities and the differences of women’s experiences depending on their social class, education, and location in industrialized and developing countries are highlighted throughout. Practical implications are examined including the consequences of these changes for men. Engaging vignettes and case studies from around the world bring the topics to life. The book argues that despite policy reforms and a rhetoric of equality, women still have unique experiences from men both at work and at home.

Women, Work, and Globalization explores:

  • Key issues surrounding work and families from a global cross-cultural perspective.
  • The positive and negative experiences of more women in the global workforce.
  • The spread of women’s empowerment on changes in ideologies and behaviors throughout the world.
  • Key literature from family studies, IO, sociology, anthropology, and economics.
  • The changing role of men in the global work-family arena.
  • The impact of sexual trafficking and exploitation, care labor, and transnational migration on women.
  • Best practices and policies that have benefited women, men, and their families.

Part 1 reviews the research on gender in the industrialized and developing world, global changes that pertain to women’s gender roles, women’s labor market participation, globalization, and the spread of the women’s movement. Issues that pertain to women in a globalized world including gender socialization, sexual trafficking and exploitation, labor migration and transnational motherhood, and the complexities entailed in care labor are explored in Part 2. Programs and policies that have effectively assisted women are explored in Part 3 including initiatives instituted by NGOs and governments in developing countries and (programs) policies that help women balance work and family in industrialized countries. The book concludes with suggestions for global initiatives that assist women in balancing work and family responsibilities while decreasing their vulnerabilities.

Intended as a supplemental text for advanced undergraduate and/or graduate courses in Women/Gender Issues, Work and Family, Gender and Families, Global/International Families, Family Diversity, Multicultural Families, and Urban Sociology taught in psychology, human development and family studies, gender and/or women’s studies, business, sociology, social work, political science, and anthropology. Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners in these fields will also appreciate this thought provoking book.

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About the author

Bahira Sherif Trask is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Delaware.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Oct 30, 2013
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Pages
298
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ISBN
9781134699469
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Human Resources & Personnel Management
Family & Relationships / Parenting / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The contributions collected in this volume were produced on the occasion of the International Women's University (ifu), which took place in Hanover in the summer of 2000. They belong to the preparation papers and lesson materials written for the project-area "Work. " This area was one of the six faculties, along with "Information," "Body," "Migration," "City," and "Water," which formed the program of the ifu. On a world wide horizon, each project-area chose re gional centers appropriate for its special topic. Tensions between global and - cal developments and their economic, socio-cultural and political effects on gen der relationships were thematized in almost all faculties. Special attention was paid to women's new opportunities as well as worsening life conditions in a chan ging world. The cosmopolitan orientation of the Ifu corresponds on a sci entific level to internationality and interdisciplinarity as requirements for each design of the curriculum. I will come back to what this means for our project area. It was our goal to explore the connections between globalization, work and gender. This was a difficult undertaking. As "globalization" is a process that oc curs in transnational contexts and under varying local constellations, its multiple modes of operation can only become visible by studying a certain number of countries. An approach based on contrasting methods, however, demands a weIl considered plan- how many and what kind of regions should be exemplarily compared.
As China has evolved into an industrial powerhouse over the past two decades, a new class of workers has developed: the dagongmei, or working girls. The dagongmei are women in their late teens and early twenties who move from rural areas to urban centers to work in factories. Because of state laws dictating that those born in the countryside cannot permanently leave their villages, and familial pressure for young women to marry by their late twenties, the dagongmei are transient labor. They undertake physically exhausting work in urban factories for an average of four or five years before returning home. The young women are not coerced to work in the factories; they know about the twelve-hour shifts and the hardships of industrial labor. Yet they are still eager to leave home. Made in China is a compelling look at the lives of these women, workers caught between the competing demands of global capitalism, the socialist state, and the patriarchal family.

Pun Ngai conducted ethnographic work at an electronics factory in southern China’s Guangdong province, in the Shenzhen special economic zone where foreign-owned factories are proliferating. For eight months she slept in the employee dormitories and worked on the shop floor alongside the women whose lives she chronicles. Pun illuminates the workers’ perspectives and experiences, describing the lure of consumer desire and especially the minutiae of factory life. She looks at acts of resistance and transgression in the workplace, positing that the chronic pains—such as backaches and headaches—that many of the women experience are as indicative of resistance to oppressive working conditions as they are of defeat. Pun suggests that a silent social revolution is underway in China and that these young migrant workers are its agents.

In the next few years the world will be facing a huge talent shortage. Demographic trends in America, Europe, Russia, and Japan are reducing the pool of new workers. As the need for talent grows, China’s and India’s educational systems won’t be able to produce enough qualified graduates for themselves, let alone the rest of the world. But the heart of the problem is that the education-to-employment system worldwide is badly outmoded. We’re not producing graduates with the kinds of technical, communications, and thinking skills needed in the 21st century. In Winning the Global Talent Showdown, Ed Gordon surveys the sorry state of the world talent pipeline, with separate chapters on the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Each region faces its own challenges, yet the result is the same: a dramatic shortage of workers who can function in what Gordon calls our “cyber-mental” age. But this is fundamentally a book about solutions. Gordon argues that we need to completely reinvent our talent-creation system—and some pioneering efforts are already underway. He describes dozens of “gateways to the future,” innovative partnerships in which local governments, schools, businesses, labor unions, parents, training organizations, community activists, and others are collaborating to develop completely new approaches to education. Based on personal experience, Gordon outlines how concerned citizens can establish these partnerships in their own communities. And he looks down the road to 2020, explaining how we can build on the best of these new ideas so that the jobs pipeline flows freely again.
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