Gendered Aspects of Globalization

Globalization is usually described as a process that minimizes the metaphorical distance between countries through economic, political, and cultural integration. However, globalization is also gendered in various ways; it has different effects on men and women depending on socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Globalization causes meanings and ideas about gender and sexuality to shift, which in Caitrin Lynch’s ethnography Juki Girls, Good Girls, creates a fine line between exploitation and empowerment, and in Holly Wardlow’s ethnography Wayward Women, leads to changing patterns of kinship and marriage.
Globalization, in terms of western ideals of private property, commodity consumption, and wage labor, promotes an incipient independence and individualism among people in underdeveloped countries, and especially among women in male-dominated societies. This is evident in Juki Girls, Good Girls, where the Sri Lankan government promoted the 200 Garment Factory Program to convince women that laboring in the village factories would not make them perceived as immoral, westernized, and ill-behaved ‘Juki’ girls, like the women workers in urban areas, but instead as heroic citizens, well-behaved, and “traditional” Sinhalese Buddhists. However, by working in these factories, the women workers desired to enjoy the enhanced status of their new wages and to be "modern," which meant consuming products of modernity, such as makeup and perfume, and to attend social events in groups. This was made possible through their self-sufficiency and increased independence. They also saw their wage labor as an opportunity to accumulate their dowries, and thus increase their chances of marrying.
Another example of a developing female individualism due to globalization is described in Wayward Women, where some Huli women expressed individuality as a negative agency due to betrayal or exploitation by their male kin. One of the ways these women experienced betrayal was by their husbands,...