(Stop Sex Trafficking, 2017)
The end of Communism witnessed the ever-growing necessity for capital and finances, to keep up with globalisation and soaring rates for produce and housing. This precedented an advance in employment roles which were either exclusive of women, subjugating of women or which forced women into unhealthy working environments. “Globalization is tied to momentous political changes of the present era such as the rise of identity politics” (Butale, 2015). Representing nearly 50% of the population, women’s identity is one of the most crucial to understanding and improving our current political and economic landscape. The disparity between men and women detriments not only women themselves, but the economy, society and general global prosperity. Furthermore, not only is poverty “both a cause and a consequence of inequality” (McBain, 2014), it is also reported that “gender inequality is costing the global economy trillions of dollars per year” (McBain, 2014).
Inequality for women affects both developed and non-developed countries, and “there is no country in the world where women have equal economic and political power to men” (McBain, 2014). Since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, women’s rights have had more focus as has their necessity in the global economy. Whereas women were once not regarded at all, today women are given more influence yet under the guise of “equal” rights. In more advanced societies, whilst both men and women contribute to the job industry, the dominance of males in the workplace is evident with unequal wages between genders and the disparity henceforth remains.
Worryingly, the exploitation of women in numerous job industries – which often aids a country’s economy – remains a deadly factor. Globally, the increase in vulnerable women has multiplied astronomically. There is a direct link between the rise of capitalism and globalism and the way in which women are subject to its pitfalls, corroborated by “Marxist feminists [who] make a causal connection between capitalism and the subordination of women. They contend that women are an exploited class in the capitalist mode of production” (Butale, 2015). Whilst women suffer both in developed and developing nations, the frequency in which women migrating to other countries is a great matter for concern and “migrant women from developing countries are increasingly victims of trafficking, for the purpose of sexual exploitation” (Butale, 2015).
Beijing intended a monumental implementation of factors to accomplish female inclusion and equality, yet since, the sex trafficking industry has alone seen a massive influx in workers where women simply are forced into finding any way to keep up with the demanding expenses that have pressured them since the progression of globalisation. A report for a Workshop organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women, on behalf of the United Nations, further explains that women are much more likely to end up “in intolerable forms of employment” and that “globalization to date has done too little to minimize gender inequalities” (Lim, 1999). Women have been forced to find “alternative circuits of survival” to earn a living, including “prostitution, labor migration [and] illegal trafficking” (Roberts, 2008).
This current era was coined by Pettman as the “international political economy of sex” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212), where women’s bodies are “tradable commodities” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212). This is referred to as the “feminization of survival” as these means of creating income “are dependent on women” and are a necessary, and often only, choice for some women (Roberts, 2008). These not only contribute to the woman’s livelihood, but also government revenue, demonstrating that governments are profiting from gender inequality, and in effect profiting from the vulnerable and dangerous situations women find themselves in, due to the disparity between genders in the modern global economy (Roberts, 2008). The sex industry “is estimated to be worth billions of dollars per annum” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212). Whilst governments may profit from certain industries that inhibit women and force them into dangerous situations, “it is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion” (UN Women, 2017).
The UN Women organisation states “when more women work, economies grow” (UN Women, 2017). The question remains as to why there is still a dichotomy between genders, particularly when regarding the benefits that would be reaped to truly create equality, and as a consequence an increase in each nation’s, and the global, economy.
Leila Lerari – M00559185
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