The term capitalism refers to an economic structure based on manufacture of goods and services for profit and the personal acquiring of the means of production. There are other vital aspects essential to capitalism such as the accumulation of capital and frequently aggressive markets. Capitalism occurs in multiple variations for example state capitalism, welfare capitalism, and laissez-faire. Capitalism occurred over a variety of historical periods, locations, cultures and political platforms. However, capitalism was most dominant in the Western region of the world after the collapse of the feudalism system. Women are openly oppressed within the capitalist labor market, in the division of labor and other capitalistic aspects. As a result, they have been on the receiving end of unfair payments, exploitation as human capital. These forms of subjugation of women need to address to rectify the situation.
The documentary “Life and Debt” portrays the severely unconstructive impact that globalization had on the Jamaican agricultural and economic sector. The film combined the characteristic tourist perspective with difficult economic circumstances within Jamaica, a side that most people have never seen. The film features representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank giving their opinion on capitalism and the way they bring out the familiar speeches on administrative responsibility that obscure the hidden agenda of looking out for self-interests first. Opinions voiced by different scholars on the capitalism phenomenon such as Karl Marx have reflected the multifaceted nature of the topic. Marx argued that capitalism had dehumanizing effects such as exploitation, recurring depressions, alienation and mass unemployment. Of the various groups in society, women are the most affected by the impact of globalization than any other group.
Feminization of Global Labor
Feminization of labor refers to the phenomenon that emerges when gender-based labor relations are developed due to capitalism. When these relations are expressed on a global level, the resulting phenomenon is the feminization of global labor. Most women engage in regular housework that in itself is considered conventional, unsubstantial and irrelevant. Conversely, paid work is recognized as being legitimate and worthy of being rewarded. Much of the work that can be done by women is categorized according to gender and focuses on the health services, entertainment, and largely in the domestic services. This division of labor according to gender produces a concept called reproductive labor that refers to work done on a private or domestic level that helps maintain a family for example cleaning, rearing, childcare and cooking. Reproductive labor is therefore a precursor and a facilitator of productive and paid labor. As a result, domestic work has traditionally been thought of as a natural part of a woman’s responsibilities and personality. Feminization of global labor has therefore been perpetrated on the basis that the services provided by women are considered unskilled, unpaid and less relevant.
The article by Annette Fuentes and Barbara Ehrenreich titled Life on the Global Assembly Line was very instrumental in portraying the real life events in assembly lines of Third World countries where women worked in unfavorable conditions. The conduct by most multinational corporations was brought out by the two authors as being predatory, ruthless and unfair against women. The women were taken advantage of, their wages were greatly lowered and they experienced a lot of gender inequality. This occurrence was repeated across all the companies that were based in developing countries. The article compared the wage rates for employees in third world countries as compared to the United States where workers earned substantially more wages.
The global labor situation for women developed from historical events such as World War II that created the need for women workers. However, at the beginning, women were not considered mainstream workers and were therefore seen as taking away jobs from men. Governments have invested greatly in motivating women to work by bringing out women workers as being dedicated, loyal and efficient for example Rosie the Riveter. Unlike men, women suffered from the double shift phenomenon of having to work and take care of their children. Despite all these changes, the men’s attitudes toward working alongside women have changed gradually. Instead, men retaliated against this massive influx of women into their presumed industry by offering poor wages and salaries, difficult working conditions and other factors that discouraged women.
Multinational corporations and their treatment of women in the workplace
Multinational corporations (MNC) are companies that are registered in different countries or and operations in more than two countries. MNCs are large corporations that do both manufacturing and selling goods and services in diverse countries that is why they are referred to as international firms. These firms play an important function in the globalization process. A modern phenomenon emerged where women in the offices earned salaries or wages similar to those paid to men. However, women face a massive challenge in the form of inequality in the workplace. Until recent times, cultural and legal practices, coupled with the inactivity of ancient spiritual and learning principles, limited women’s debut and involvement in the mainstream corporate sector.
Multinationals and the employment of women in the workforce
Women are recurrently discriminated against within the labor sector, chiefly among management opportunities. However, female applicants were just as eligible as the male contenders were. Women offer a prosperous pool of skill, talent and experience but most multinational shun these desirable qualities when considering appointments for the high-level positions. The employed male workers and domestic partners are quite reluctant to share workplaces and roles with women. Local clients often decline to trust the choices made by female employees portraying slothfulness on the part of the society to change.
Gender inequality in the labor market can be solved through initiating a transparent and defined directive for observing and reviewing the occurrence of disparity against women. This machinery can be headed by a combination of several authorities including police, judiciary and women individual representatives and prosecution teams. This machinery will ensure improved registration and development of investigation and scrutiny of gender equality crimes. The criminal justice system should also be sensitized on the need for exposing employees to elements of gender equality. These efforts would enlighten the workers on the importance and consequences of gender equality. Lastly, the family laws such as Domestic Violence Act of 2005 should be amended o include new provisions for women who work similar jobs to their husbands.
There is a constant struggle between pursuing business goals and implementing human rights objectives and this conflict of interest causes many MNCs to violate human rights at the expense of maximizing their profit margins. Women form the largest group that suffers because of corporations violating their rights just to maximize on their productivity. Corporations operating within the Third World have recorded the highest instances of human rights violations on females within the workforce. This gross violations have slowly crept into he developed world creating a global exploitation of women workers by MNCs. The capitalistic nature of the economy serves to aggravate the situation as it liberates the playing field by offering corporate bodies various options to get their profits at the expense of women.
Barndt, Deborah. Women Working the NAFTA Food Chain: Women, Food & Globalization. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2008. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/id/10210479
Ehrenreich, Barbara & Fuentes, Annette. 1980s – Life on the Global Assembly Line. 12 (2): 45. 2002.
Ehrenreich, Barbara & Hochschild, Arlie Russell. Global woman: nannies, maids, and sex workers in the new economy. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003.
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Beneria, Lourdes. Structural Adjustment policies. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.arts.cornell.edu/poverty/Papers/Beneria_SAPs.pdf
Mudimbe-boyi, M. Elisabeth. Beyond dichotomies histories, identities, cultures, and the challenge of globalization. Albany: State University of New York Press. 2002. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=99698
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Sharpe, Pamela. Women, gender, and labor migration historical and global perspectives. London: Routledge. 2002. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=68280
 Karl Marx & Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1848}