Globalization describes interdependence among nations. It constitutes the exchange of people, goods and services, culture, technology, and ideas. Globalization has positive and negative impacts on women. However, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Globalization has empowered women in diverse ways. First, international peer pressure has challenged conservative countries to amend cultural practices and laws against women. For example, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud granted women the right to drive. The prince had earlier punished those defying the driving ban, but due to international peer pressure, he allowed Saudi women to drive. Without globalization, the Kingdom would still uphold such gender-biased policy. The women in Saudi Arabia are not yet free and independent, but the international influence is helping them challenge existing social, political, and legal structures.
Second, international media influence and increased information access empower women to demand better treatment at work. The international media covers stories showing how women receive better wages and working conditions in the West. Such coverage inspires women in emerging economies to approach managers or leaders and ask for better pay and a conducive working environment. Movements such as the “Me Too movement” have a positive global impact because they encouraged women worldwide to speak against sexual harassment in the workplace. The movement dismantled the existing culture that allowed male bosses to sexually harass women without facing any consequences. Nowadays, men understand what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace, allowing women to operate in a safe work environment.
Third, globalization has created more economic opportunities for women. Multinational businesses open overseas branches, recruiting more women to achieve gender equality. When MNCs move into new countries, they transfer positive cultures such as gender equality in the workplace. The transfer of ideas and culture challenges companies worldwide to employ minorities, including women.
Furthermore, governments enter into agreements, allowing nations with a surplus workforce to send workers to those with deficits. For example, during the ongoing health crisis, developing countries sent nurses and doctors to the worst-affected nations. Women accounted for more than half the nurses sent to work abroad. Such employment opportunities empower women significantly; they equip women with skills and capital to improve their career and personal lives.
Fourth, globalization ignited political changes, including identity politics. Women are exploiting these changes to join politics and get elected in positions traditionally held by men. The growing number of women in parliaments, executives, and top judicial posts demonstrates the positive impact of globalization on women. Women are uniting to elect a woman who understands their struggles. Women believe that selecting a female leader helps protect their interests.
Globalization has led to the overexploitation of women. The growing migration has created labor demands favoring women such as house-helps, caregivers, waiters, and bar hostesses. For example, Saudi Arabia households are growingly hiring young women from Africa and Asia as house helps. When these women arrive in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, the employers abuse and sexually exploit them. Likewise, organized criminal groups in the U.S and Italy run international human trafficking and sex trade business where women, including underage girls, are forced into prostitution. Women are susceptible to human trafficking, sexual abuse, and overexploitation in the globalized world.
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