January 19, 2006, The Financial Express
New Delhi

Has the process of globalization marginalized women or has it opened more avenues for them? In the absence of adequate gender-specific data on the effect of globalization, views diverge on how the process of globalization has affected women.

According to All India Women’s Conference president Aparna Basu, it is difficult to establish a direct link between economic liberalisaqtion and gender. More over, the impact is not uniform across all sectors and nations. “Clothing is one sector where liberalization has benefited women and there has been a more positive impact on them in Sri Lanka and Bangla desh than other countries, “Ms Basu said at a session on women and gloablisation in a seminar organized by Ficci. Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Saraswati Raju, however, believes ;that globalisation has had an adverse impact on women. She said that while there may not be enough data to establish globalization’s effect accurately, indications revealed that liberalization has benefited only those who were in the bargaining position.

Dr. Raju pointed out that because of modernization of traditional industry and the introduction of new machinery, a lot of women had lost their jobs, especially in small towns. In fact, the result of displacement of women from their employment is different for different regions in the country. Ms. Basu pointed out that a study showed that women who lost their jobs in Delhi had a higher likelihood of finding alternative employment opportunities than women in West Bengal.

Pradeep Mehta from CUTS said it was incorrect to assume that globalization would necessarily lead to greater marginalisation of women. Citing an example of a positive fall out of the liberalization process, Mr. Mehta said despite apprehensions that the end of the quota regime in garments and textiles would harm the interests of women in Bangladesh, they are the ones who have gained the maximum from the process.