Impacts of Global Economy on Women’s Labor Force Participation in the Developing Nations

By Rifat Akhter.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Previous research on globalization and development has discussed the impacts of globalization on women’s participation in the labor force. However, researchers have used women’s access to industry or service sectors as the indicators of women’s participation in the labor force. Past research has not focused on all sectors. Thus researchers have not captured women’s participation in all sectors which also include agriculture and informal sectors. Using lagged cross-sectional analysis with a sample of 70 nation-states, in this research I have overcome this limitation by exploring impacts of global economy on women’s participation in the different formal sectors (agriculture, industry, and service sector) as well as in the informal labor force relative to men’s. My hypothesis is global economy has variables effects on women’s participation in the formal and informal labor market relative to men’s. Women’s work abilities depend on economic opportunities of the nation-states. Women with some education may work in the informal economies even if foreign investment is high and if for some reasons other economic opportunities diminish. Thus higher commodity concentration may lower women’s access to formal labor force in all sectors and increases women’s share in the informal sectors after controlling for economic development, and culture. Income inequality plays important roles in determining women’s work opportunities. Thus investment dependency and export dependency may not create jobs for women in the formal labor market as predicted by Modernization theorists. Using World-System and Modernization theories I explore the different impacts of global economy on women’ labor force participation in the developing nations.

Keywords: Global Economy, Gender, Labor Force

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.81-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.695MB).

Dr. Rifat Akhter

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas, USA

Rifat Akhter is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Central Arkansas. Her research interest is Globalization, Gender, Violence Against Women, and Health. She obtained her Masters in Medical Demography from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Ph.d in Sociology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her current research explores how the global economy and unequal power relations between men and women create a context where domestic violence continues to be a regular phenomenon in many women’s lives. In another project she is exploring the impacts of the global economy and women's status on the infant mortality rates.


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