Women and Work in Globalising Asia

Women and Work in Globalising Asia

Women and Work in Globalising Asia

Women and Work in Globalising Asia


This book sheds light on the real experiences of women in different societies, exploring the impact of globalization through the changing nature of the labour of women. A comprehensive survey of women and work is provided by using case studies and empirical data collected from throughout Asia and also includes an analysis of Asian immigrants working in the US.
This book is an invaluable resource, accessible to both undergraduate and postgraduate students of women's studies, labour relations, international political economy and Asian studies.


It is a pleasure to commend a book that fills a gap in what is rapidly becoming an overworked academic field. Before you sigh at yet another volume on globalisation, reflect for a moment on why it is that one half of the world's population does two-thirds of the work yet commands less than 10 per cent of its wealth and, despite its growing participation in the world's formal work force, suffers a declining share of political power. Around the world there are fewer women in democratic assemblies today than there were even twenty years ago. It is true that history has always been about his story rather than hers, but under conditions of globalisation women are being written out of the script with even greater determination, or so it seems, than before.

Why should this be? Feminist perspectives on political economy, while slow and long in coming, have been with us for some time and calculations of the effective costs of economic progress borne by women through their unpaid domestic labour are part of common academic parlance. It is also the case that many readers on globalisation have obligatory token contributions by women and for women, usually located in the latter part of the anthologies. But it is hard to find a book, most definitely a thoroughly researched book, that puts women at the centre stage of the unfolding drama that is globalisation.

It seems to me that one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, is the evolution of feminist perspectives itself, from their early passion for participation in the progress of advanced countries, through the fragmenting flirtation with postmodernism, to the present confidently developing critique of the restructuring of the world economy under conditions of globalisation of which this book is a good example.

Postmodern feminism, while eloquent about 'bringing women back in', is stranded in the central critique of postmodernism itself, namely the contestation and rejection of all universal concepts and meta-narratives. the postmodernists' celebration of difference made them beg the question 'who are these women'? White middle-class women in the West, peasant women in rural India, black women in Britain, or women workers in the sweatshops of East Asia? the circumstance that all these groups were differently, and often oppositionally, inserted into the global capitalist system, undermined the search for common cause and common struggle.

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