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Women in Asia and Globalization

In: Social Issues

Submitted By elongley24
Words 1081
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Globalization can be defined as the global integration of different worldviews, economic outlook, cultural values, and in many cases vast exploitation of workers. Women of color and women of the Third World are highly subject to globalization and the exploitation it causes. Women in Asia are greatly affected by Globalization, both politically and economically. We see in many cases in Asia how this occurs such as, corporations’ exploitation of women, challenges for the women’s movement, and the issue of sex workers and foreign brides.
With the issue of exploitation of workers in corporations it becomes clear that Globalization is a huge factor in the livelihood of women in these countries. The idea of work for women has changed, we are now seeing a shift of the type of work women are doing. Before “women’s work” entailed mainly work around the house or reproductive labor. Women are becoming a main part of the productive work force and are now a part of the formalized economy. We have seen a major shift in Malaysia where there has been a huge increase of women’s participation in the formal economy. Women have taken on manufacturing jobs, government jobs, and service jobs. Globalization and Global capitalism has encouraged industrialization in Malaysia and women have been forced out of their homes to move into the more urban areas where the Free Trade Zones are (Ariffin27). According to Ariffin, women made up about thirty-eight percent of the labor market in the 1990’s. Although the steady increase the number for women in technical related jobs and decision-making jobs, such as engineering, business, and medicine jobs, the numbers for the women being employed to these jobs are still relatively low. Some women have turned to sex work or prostitution in order to survive. Low-end sex workers have been more in demand rather than high-end call girls due to businessmen losing their jobs or going bankrupt due to the global economy (Ariffin32). Sex trafficking remains a big issue in Malaysia. Studies from nongovernmental organizations have shown women from Malaysia are being exported to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Europe, and Australia (Ariffin32). Hundreds of girls have been reported missing because of sex trafficking and it is a global issue.
When referring to working conditions and the type of jobs women in Asia are taking on they are subject to miserable conditions. In China they set up huge factories to house many workers, mainly women, to work long hours in harsh working conditions. We see this when watching the documentary, “Mardi Gras: Made in China.” In this film we are shown how globalization has impacted women because bead production had been outsourced to China for the popular holiday in New Orleans. In New Orleans a film crew went around to different people asking them if they knew where the beads they were wearing were from or who was making them, most people did not have a clue and some said they did not care. In China we see how the girls making these beads have been living their lives in such bad conditions all in order to send money home to their families. The money they make is around ten cents an hour. The factory owners feel like they can exploit these girls because they feel as if women are more controllable and will not fight back, in this instance 95% of the workers are females and only 5% are males. The girls working at the bead factory often are the main provider for their family and they have people who depend on them so they are therefore forced into working these types of jobs. The owner of the factory says if the workers do not produce what is expected of them, which is very hard to attain, that their pay will be deducted. Many are uneducated and left school to move to the factory in order to work and make money for their family. One girl said she is only doing this job so her little brother can have a life full of promise and dreams that she will never have. This film clearly depicts the exploitative aspects of globalization.
In recent years in China there has been challenges as well as opportunities for the woman’s movement. Three forces according to Zhang and Hsiung have shaped the contemporary women’s movement in China, the socialist legacy, economic and political reforms and influence from global feminisms (Zhang,Hsiung157). The influence of global feminism in China has been shown through UN documents, training, and funding from other countries. The main interest for Chinese women in this movement is to increase political participation, focus on domestic violence, and to develop nongovernmental organizations. Women hold the government responsible for protecting women and have pressured the government to discuss problems like “women’s health, violence against women, domestic violence, the welfare of girls, a national mechanism for the advancement of women, so forth.” (Zhang, Hsiung165). These things have become more normalized in China and the government has started to support them. Funding has also been crucial to the women’s movement in China. The Ford Foundation Beijing is a leading source of funding for the projects concerning women. They have had a major impact on women’s reproductive health, wome’s studies, and nongovernmental organization capacity building. They continue to give support to the women of China. (Zhang, Hsiung165). Combatting domestic violence has also become a main fight in the women’s movement. History in China has portrayed the wife as the husband’s property and used to put domestic violence in the same category of personal assault. Certain nongovernment organizations have put in place community intervention and have conducted research in both rural and urban areas to help combat domestic violence and become more educated about it (Zhang, Hsiung175).
As you can see, both economic and political globalization has impacted Asia in many ways. In China the economic globalization has greatly impacted the lives of women and the type of jobs they perform. In Malaysia we see both a political and economic influence globally as well. The women who are being exploited however continue to fight back and form together to fight back their oppressor.

Works Cited
Ariffan in Aguilar, Delia D., and Anne E. Lacsamana. Women and Globalization. Amherst, NY: Humanity, 2004. Print.

Zhang and Hsiung in Basu, Amrita. Women's Movements in the Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010. Print.

Mardi Gras: Made in China. Dir. David Redmon. Carnivalesque Films, 2008. DVD.

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