During the last several decades, the process of globalization has undergone a variety of changes, as well demonstrated a considerable impact on the lives of people, regardless of their gender, age, income level, or origin. It includes certain economic, political, and social improvements in terms of which community transformations occur. There are many discussions about the relationship between the concept of globalization and women.
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On the one hand, globalization unites people and makes them follow the same standards or use similar opportunities. On the other hand, women become free to use their rights and follow their interests. As a result, it is normal to expect the growth of social variety and separation. Globalization provokes certain socio-economic and political changes that may challenge or enhance female empowerment and underline the worth of women’s rights in their intentions to deal with existing inequality and social injustice.
Globalization and Political and Socio-Economic Conditions
In a modern world where globalization, industrialization, and the development of international relationships never stop, the role of women as equal members of society cannot be ignored. Multiple positions and attitudes towards the impact of globalization on the female population are developed, which may be explained by the fact that globalization may have different forms. For example, Cho is one of the authors who believe that social globalization improves the socio-economic rights of women, whereas economic globalization does not influence them in the same way.
Cho finds out that, “Social globalization enhances the level of civil liberty – defined as the freedom of expression and civil association – enabling social reform which can be transmitted into the betterment of women’s rights” (684). Social tolerance, the identification of alternative roles, and openness of ideas are the major characteristics of globalization within the frames of which women gain rights’ recognition and support. Women discover new ways to challenge the already established male-dominant society and exchange their social experiences.
At the same time, economic globalization and the political representation of women remain ambiguous in modern society. International relationships help to promote trade openness by means of the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) where political and social regulations are defined (Cho 683). The connection between trade, political, and economic relationships is evident, and women’s opportunities are determined by this type of progress.
The investigations of Alves and Steiner show that women’s “participation in market economy and in the political arena has also been fostered by the tide of globalization” (873). All these transformations help to open some new aspects of the trade, international economy, and government support. Therefore, it is correct to say that globalization has positively affected socio-economic and political conditions for women, but the outcomes of this process are not final, and new improvements can be observed with time.
Globalization and Women’s Rights
There are many definitions and understandings that can be developed around globalization as it includes a free movement of people, ideas, products, and services. Therefore, it is expected that one of the possible properties of this process is the possibility to improve women’s rights and enhance the stabilization of social relationships. Information and communication technology progress as a part of globalization results in “creating opportunities for women, enabling them to participate in political, social, and economic processes at an unprecedented scale” (Alves and Steiner 862).
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International ties and trade relations also strengthen women’s rights because the quality of life and social status of women have to be changed in regards to international standards. In the United States, the history of women’s rights is long and controversial. However, globalization is the factor that reinforces women’s positions in society and proves that gender inequality is a question of the past. A safe future and a successful present are predetermined by a variety of factors, and respect for women’s rights is one of them.
At the same time, globalization may create some threats to women’s positions in society. Gray et al. state, “Where international trade and investment erode traditional local economies or degrade the environment, women as well as men suffer” (327). Globalization may contribute negatively to women’s rights but not because of a gender factor, but because people can hardly control this process and its outcomes in society.
Finally, it is necessary to remember that globalization is a general process that may influence an individual in several different ways. If one person can accept women’s rights as a potential contribution to social development, another person may define them as a threat to personal freedoms and opportunities.
Globalization and Female Empowerment
The idea to empower women is developed in many countries, but its outcomes depend on certain political, social, and cultural norms. Globalization is a chance to observe how different nations treat their women and define their roles in society, family, and the workplace. Women from different countries exchange their experiences, promote fights for personal and social freedoms, and recognize their empowerment.
In the United States, gender equality is not as strict and determined as in the countries where Muslims prevail or where religion plays an important role. “The Christian model teaches women to submit to their husbands, to turn away wrath with gentle words, and to pray to dislodge demons that hide in strongholds created by resentment, grudges, and hostility” (Merry 41). Therefore, empowerment of women is not always possible, and the task of globalization is to replace the worth of religion and underline the need for social rights.
Several effective outcomes have already been recognized in many countries due to globalization. For example, “women who are in danger are encouraged to separate from their partners,” Merry explains, “husbands and wives are taught to negotiate decisions with the promise of increased trust, love, and sexual pleasure” (41). Globalization turns out to be a door to new experiences and perspectives with the help of which old problems can be solved. Still, not all concerns are discussed, and much work and debates have to be organized to prove the success of female empowerment through the prism of globalization.
In general, the issue of women’s rights remains open because of a number of social and religious aspects that cannot be neglected by modern society. People want to remove certain barriers and use globalization as a strong reason to empower women and underline their rights. However, in some countries, the role of the government or religion is integral and predetermines the relationships between individuals. To understand the relationships between globalization and women’s rights, it is necessary to remember that globalization is not a smooth practice that has its beginning and end. It is a continuous process the outcomes of which are hard to predict and control because much depends on people, their readiness to accept or reject changes, and their desire to live equally and freely.
Alves, Elisa, and Andrea Steiner. “Globalization, Technology and Female Empowerment: Breaking Rights or Connecting Opportunities?” Social Indicators Research, vol. 133, no. 3, 2016, pp. 859-877. Web.
Cho, Seo-Young. “Integrating Equality: Globalization, Women’s Rights, and Human Trafficking.” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 57, 2013, pp. 683-697. Web.
Gray, Mark, et al. “Women and Globalization: A Study of 180 Countries, 1975-2000.” International Organization, vol. 60, no. 2, 2006, pp. 293-333. Web.
Merry, Sally. “Rights, Religion, and Community: Approaches to Violence Against Women in the Context of Globalization.” Law & Society Review, vol. 35, no. 1, 2001, pp. 39-88. Web.