Samir D. Ajmeri
How do rising levels of international interconnectedness affect the social, economic, and political condition of women? Competing hypotheses are easy to identify; indeed, a prudent answer to the question would be that some women will benefit from globalization and some will be hurt, or that the status of women will improve in some respects but not others. We advance the hypothesis that, on balance and over time, increasing cross-national exchange and communication lead to improvements in the status of women. We argue that both economic factors and ideational or normative effects support that proposition. Economic aspects of globalization bring new opportunities and resources to women. But equally important, globalization promotes the diffusion of ideas and norms of equality for women; though some societies resist such notions, others gradually abandon rules and practices that have functioned to subordinate and constrain women. Results of our analysis of data from 180 countries during the years 1975 to 2000 are consistent with the expectation that global norms and institutions make a difference for the quality of life and status of women. More often than not, when domestic cultures are more open to international influences, outcomes for women, as measured in health, literacy, and participation in the economy and government, are generally improved. We find that International norms and institutions can, at a minimum, give women one more source of leverage in pressing for domestic reforms.
Women and the Globalization
Samir D. Ajmeri
The current wave of globalization has greatly improved the lives of women worldwide, particularly in the developing world. Nevertheless, women remain disadvantaged in many areas of life, including education, employment, health, and rights. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank, 57 percent of the 72 million primary school aged children who do not attend school are females. Additionally, females are 4 percent less likely to complete primary school than are boys. Globalization is about making things global. It is the process of creating languages, services, and products that apply not just to an individual neighbourhood or city or country, but to the whole world. But it has also led to deepening global poverty, increased stress and workloads in both the paid and unpaid labour force, and environmental destruction. Women have been particularly affected. Because of the merging of global economies, we can buy cheap bananas and pineapples, foods that don't grow in India year-round. We can also surf the internet and find out about life on the other side of the globe. We can indulge ourselves in African and Cuban music. And, we can drop by at our neighbourhood flower shop and pick up low-cost and beautiful fresh flowers on the coldest winter day. So if globalization is such a good thing, why are so many people so critical of it? While one interpretation of globalization has to do with equal exchange and sharing of goods and services between countries and cultures, the reality of a globalized world is much different. Globalization is a phenomenon that crosses and erases geographical and political borders and makes all countries start to look the same. As a result of globalization, local products, services, and cultures disappear into a global culture, a culture defined not by the global citizenry but rather the world's economic and political superpowers - mostly North America-owned corporations. Because of globalization, people on every continent are exposed to and consumed by a North American 'culture' defined by Nike running shoes, MTV, Coca Cola, and McDonald's. Some people have re-named the process of globalization and called it McDonaldization or...