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Why have women been the preferred labour force by the multinational corporations operating in export-oriented industries producing garments, electronics and toys in the "Third World"?

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Sarah Pinsonneault - 101598947 53-260-01 Women in the Global Economy Mid-term Exam Due: February 18, 2004 Section 1 - Question 1 Why have women been the preferred labour force by the multinational corporations operating in export-oriented industries producing garments, electronics and toys in the "Third World"? There are many reasons why women are the preferred labour force by the multinational corporations operating in the export oriented industries. In industries such as textiles, clothing, and electronics, stereotypes of women being cheap labour, docile, flexible and having nimble fingers allows the multinational corporations to devalue the work of women into low-paying and menial positions. One social system that describes the gender differences in the third world is the concept of social stratification, which exists in most societies, and distinguishes between individuals and/or groups according to their socially defined attributes, and gives them different statuses according to these attributes. This type of discrimination is especially predominant in the less developed countries. ...read more.


Researchers hold different opinions the role of paid work in women's lives, the ways in which it enhances or marginalizes their socio-economic position within the household, and the methods used by women to gain a measure of control over their lives at home and in the workplace as they move from under the authority of fathers and families into industrial plants that have male managers and limited advancement opportunities for female laborers. Ultimately, authors have argued that multinational corporate-led development increases economic opportunities for women and frees them from patriarchal constraints of the household and local community. While multinationals do sometimes create new work opportunities for women, these jobs do not provide women with the means for long-term empowerment. The multinational corporations are attracted to countries with low operating costs, where the bargaining power and earning potential of laborers is restricted. In order to minimize wages and the threat of unionization, many of these corporations bring costs down further by subcontracting work to informal factories or home-based laborers. ...read more.


The demands of debt repayment also eat up revenues the governments might have invested to create jobs in their own economies. The industries themselves will continue to exist because of governmental support. They provide jobs and at least a little income, thereby lessening the chances that the poor will join together and oust their leaders. And migrant wages, sent back home, help countries pay off debt and buy imported goods. Given the powerful institutions that have vested interests in the status quo, change will be difficult to achieve. Nor should policy makers try to make changes without taking into account the complex links between Third World work and world realities. For women working in the multinational corporation it is some times hard to determine the positive or negative affects involved in working for the multinational corporations. They are often forced to work long hours with insufficient pay but they are also given the chance to earn some wages and socialize with other women. Third World women can benefit, but not without cost. 1 ...read more.

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