Feminisation of labour:
A good or bad thing for women in developing countries?
Feminisation of labour is a marker given to the movement towards greater employment of women, and of men willing and able to operate with these more 'feminine' modes of interaction (“Feminization of Labor Law and Definition”). The last few decades have witnessed an increase in the employment of women in most developing countries, despite the discrimination in wages and earnings. The changes brought about may be partly due to an improvement in the socioeconomic status of the population, such as the level of education of women along with the greater demand for both male and female labour in the workforce. In spite of the availability of new opportunities in high flexibility labour markets, I argue that the feminisation of labour brings more detriment than benefit to women in most developing countries. With the increase in female employment rate in developing countries, new opportunities are available in high flexibility labour markets. Feminisation of labour force has taken place with the expansion of export-oriented manufacturing sector in many industrializing countries, which leads to the creation of new opportunities for wage employment for women (Mahmud). As a result of this, women are now capable of being a source of income to support the family. Besides that, opening up industrial and former enterprises in the South gives some sort of freedom and improves the status of the poor working women (Rahman). This comes from earning wages, being able to make decisions, having a greater voice in the community and enjoying greater mobility (Rahman). Female labour is also said to be more suited to the more flexible and informal new modes of production which allows female employees to fulfill their responsibilities at home and also the workplace. Nonetheless, the downside of this flexibility of labour is that female employees would typically be taking on jobs that are part-time, temporary, low-wage, informal and without much benefit (McCall 129). Despite the new opportunities that are available in high flexibility labour markets, feminization of labour creates limited opportunities for these female employees. In most developing countries, not many women acquire the mandatory skills to join professional careers. Hence, opportunities for skill acquisition are limited (Mehta). Other than that, women are also offered less chances for training and promotion (“Globalisation and Employment”). Undoubtedly, a lack of training means that women workers are not likely to make any significant progress in the workplace. Even when formally employed, there are restrictions on workers organizations and a large portion of women are still excluded from public participation. Because of their poor economic and cultural backgrounds, compliant, underprivileged women are unable to resist the exploitations of the rapacious employers as several studies showed that the employment of women from rural areas in new apparel factories is premeditated by the business elite to earn money by exploiting these poor women (Rahman). 83 percent of women believe that their advancement in the workplace is hindered by their commitment to family responsibilities, according to a reports commissioned by the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office (Jenkins 40). Therefore, this belief instantaneously limits the opportunities available to female employees. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to encounter gender discrimination and sexual harassment of women workers in many developing countries. Gender discrimination in the context of workplace is when an employee receives unfavourable treatment based on gender. Sexual harassment is said to be classified under a type of gender discrimination (“Human Rights”). Sexual assault, rape, and sexual blackmail at work are the most severe forms of sexual harassment (Haspels 22). It was found that women workers are much more likely to be subjected to sexual...
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