Gender and Globalization
Gender and Globalization

1. Toward a Definition of Globalization

A good working definition of globalization might be:

A process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human
physical well-being in societies around the world.

Alongside this definition, we may highlight the larger policies that tend to encourage
this process of interaction and integration.

Most important for understanding the issues surrounding gender and
globalization is economic liberalization.  This may be defined as:

The economic policy, implemented by governments largely through international agreements, which attempts to reduce or remove limitations on international trade and flow of capital.   

Among other things, these limitations may include tariffs, trade quotas, currency
exchange and export policies, and restrictions on labor migration.  Other limitations on capital that often are perceived as conflicting with economic liberalizaton include laws intended to protect the environment and laws intended to protect labor rights.

2. Sex and Gender

Sex refers to biology, the physical characteristics that separate males from females.

Gender is a cultural phenomeon: the ways in which men and women are understood as masculine and feminine.  Another way to think of it is: how being male or female is meaningful in a given social/cultural setting.

3. Gender System and Gender Ideology

Gender system refers to the distinct, culturally-defined roles and statuses of men and women; the different ways that men and women behave, or are expected to behave, in a given social/cultural setting that marks them as masculine  and feminine.

Gender ideology refers to the culturally-based beliefs about the differences between men and women, what it means to be masculine or feminine in a given cultural setting,
that are commonly used to explain the gender system.

The gender system is the “what” of gendered roles and statuses, the gender ideology
is the “why”.

4. Patriarchy

Patriarchy is the institutionalized subordination of women to men (gender system) and the taken-for-granted belief that men are “naturally” or innately superior or more valuable, that society is more stable or prosperous when led by men, etc. (gender ideology).

5.  Strategies for Dealing with Globalization

Accommodation:  People adapt to change produced by globalization through altering some or all of their beliefs and behavior to resemble what is apparently “called for” by the new globalized society.

Resistance:  People adapt to change produced by globalization through finding ways to
maintain their traditional beliefs and behavior in spite of changes produced by globalization.

Hybridity:  People adapt to change produced by globalization through combining traditional beliefs and behaviors with aspects of the new, globalized culture to produce new beliefs and behaviors that are traditional enough to be acceptable.