Capitalism, Globalization and the Perpetuation of Women’s Oppression: a Vicious Cycle

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By Kelsey Lavoie
NDYA, Provincial Youth Liason

According to the World Bank, women make up 70% of the world’s poor and their wages world wide are on average 50% to 80% of men’s. One third of all households word wide are headed by women, they are responsible for half the world’s food production, and yet they own just one per cent of the world’s property. The majority of workers in sweatshops are women and the majority of unpaid labour is done by women in every region of the world. Further, women make up two-thirds of the one billion people who are illiterate and 60% of the 100 million who have no access to primary education.

What is the link between these global conditions of inequality for women and global capitalism? Due to the complexities and contradictions involved in such a discussion, it is best to start by briefly defining the terms.

The term “globalization” is increasingly being tossed around as a global issue/ concept and with increasingly diverse connotations. The simplest definition claims that globalization is the process of making something worldwide in scope or application. That considered, globalization is neither an innately negative nor positive phenomenon. It can be referring to the spread of ideologies, political systems, social institutions, culture, and most influentially, economic systems. Ever since the end of the Cold War, capitalism has been the dominant economic system, and thus the focus of concern.

Capitalism, in common usage, means a socio-economic system in which: a) the means of production are privately owned, b) all decisions are subject to the demands of the profit motive, c) decisions regarding investment of capital are made privately, and d) production, distribution, the prices of goods, services, and labor are determined by the market forces of supply and demand.

Cheerleaders of capitalism claim that privatization of...
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