Lecture Note 8 Globalization, East Asian Development, and Gender: A Historical Overview (Chow Ngan-ling, Ch. 1)
Main issues • A. Globalization (What is it?) • B. Globalization and East Asian Development: the making of nine HPAEs (High-Performing Asian Economies) from 1965 and 1990: Japan, the four “Asian dragons/tigers” (S. Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and S’pore), China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. • C. Examine the development processes in East Asia from gender perspective—Gender [as a verb] East Asian Development
Globalization: concept • Globalization refers to the compression of the world in spatial and temporal terms, describing the ever-changing and intensifying networks of cross-border consciousness, human interaction, system interdependence, and transformation on a world scale. • Under globalization, global economy is an increasingly interdependent system of production, distribution, exchange and consumption. In the global economy, flows of capital, labor, raw materials, goods, technology, information, markets, trade, and finance are processed • Here we focus on socio-economic aspects of globalization as they relate to gender.
Globalization and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region (1) • Four major waves of development in the region since the end of W. W. II. (Michael Hsiao): The first two waves are about industrialization; the third and fourth waves are about economic restructuring. • The first wave: Industrialization in Japan from the mid-1950s. Japan became a fully developed country by 1973 • The second wave: industrialization in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore from the 1950s. In the mid-1960s, Taiwan was the first country to succeed in establishing export processing zones (EPZs), where a significant number of young, single women workers were employed. By the mid-1980s, the four states created the “economic miracle” and emerged as NIES (newly industrialized economies)
Globalization and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region (2) • Economic restructuring in global economy: The emergence of the global assembly line--research and management are controlled by the developed countries [such as the U. S. and other western countries] while assembly line work is relegated to developing countries [such as China and Southeast Asian countries from the 1980s] • The third wave: The rising economic growth of China and Southeast Asia and the emergence of various regional growth triangles and regional integration from the 1980s • The fourth wave: A massive outflow of capital from Japan and the four Asian dragons to China and Southeast Asia. Low production costs, abundant cheap labor, and vast markets in China and the Southeast Asian countries attracted foreign manufactures to set up factories for offshore production
Three dimensions of globalization in the nine HPAEs • 1. Industrialization (beginning from the mid-1950s in Japan and the four Asian dragons): a complex process involving the transformation from an agricultural society to an industrial one by expanding capital and the labor market, applying innovations in energy and technology, mechanizing production, and augmenting industrial organization with trade and social infrastructures • 2. Economic Restructuring: a regional and local response to globalization and sparked another waves in the unprecedented transformation of the Asia-Pacific region (the rising economic growth in China and Southeast Asia) • 3. Migration: flows of people from rural to urban areas, from one region to the next, and across national borders. Recent trend of migration is driven by macro forces and not confined by national territory, sovereignty, or identity.
Gender and Industrialization in post-war East Asia (1) • The impact of industrialization on women in Asia (Susan Horton): • 1) women’s participation in the labor force of urban market economies had increased; • 2) employment patterns had shifted by industry (from agriculture to manufacturing, commerce, and services), by occupation (e. g., clerical work and some professions), and from unpaid family work to paid employment; • 3) the earnings gap of women relative to men had narrowed as women’s education and labor experience increased
Gender and Industrialization in post-war East Asia (2) • Why did the four Asian dragons develop export-led industrialization? Cheap labor • Who contributed to the cheap labor force? Significant amount of female workers • ‘Gender is implicated in globalization when consumption by the developed world is built on the cheap labor and exploitation of workers, particularly through the subordination of women, in developing countries striving to industrialize. As the four Asian dragons transitioned from agrarian, subsistence-based, and low-income countries to industrializing, wage-generating, and high-middle-income countries, their process of “export-led” industrialization was “female-led” (Chow, p. 13)’. • Globalization means that waves of women (as well as men) workers have migrated from villages to the slums of global cities and across national borders to work.
Gender and Economic Restructuring • China and Southeast Asia repeated the similar process of industrialization that had been experienced by the four “Asian dragons” in previous decades: • 1) export-oriented industrialization as a hallmark of development; • 2) growth in the manufacturing and service sectors as development strategies; • 3) feminization of the labor force (significant amount of women workers in labor force); • 4) economic reforms (e. g, decline of state-owned enterprises in China); • 5) privatizing industries and liberalization by trade.
How industrialization and economic restructuring affect Asian women? • Exploitation thesis vs. Liberalization thesis • Major arguments of exploitation thesis: • 1. Industrialization marginalizes women as exploited laborers, particularly those employed by transnational corporations (TNCs) in export processing zones • 2. TNCs chose to set up factories in these areas and recruit significant number of women workers because they see women as secondary wage earners who work for pin money and can be paid less than men and as disposable laborers who can be recruited or laid off depending upon the demands of the labor market. Their presupposed natural womanly qualities of ‘nimble fingers,’ docility, and a lack of skills are used to justify low pay and poor working conditions
How industrialization and economic restructuring affect Asian women? • Major arguments of liberalization thesis • 1. the integration of women into the labor market will liberate women from patriarchal control and lead them to economic independence. In other words, they are being “pulled” to new opportunities and “pushed” out of the home to earn wages to support their families. • 2. Linda Lim argues that the “exploitation” thesis is a stereotype rather than a reality, because it is not the norm for women who are employed in export factories in developing countries. TNCs often provide higher wages and better employment opportunities than jobs in locally owned firms or unpaid work in the home
How industrialization and economic restructuring affect Asian women? Either one of the above perspectives is not completely true. • The trickle-down effects of development on gender differ significantly by country, industry, culture and historical era. The effects are also divided along class, racial/ethnic, and national lines. • But women’s contribution to industrialization and economic growth of these East Asian countries is for sure: women workers do subsidize the waged labor of men throughout society, making it possible for their countries to achieve development at a lower cost. • Many employers view men as the primary breadwinners in the family and thus pay men a family wage, providing higher pay for similar jobs and offering higher wage increments. While women’s economic role as breadwinner is deemed secondary, their work is devalued, as indicated by lower pay and limited fringe benefits. When women enter the labor market, they face the double burden of paid production in the labor market and unpaid social reproduction in the family, and in some cases the additional toil of subsistence farming, seasonal employment, and subcontract of home-production.
How industrialization and economic restructuring affect Asian women? • Little research has devoted to the subject on the impact of economic restructuring on women and men workers in East Asia. • Stephen Chiu and C. K. Lee’s research shows that among the four “Asian dragons”, Hong Kong inflicted the greatest “hidden injuries” to women workers during its industrial restructuring; many of whom were middle-aged, married and unskilled. • In post-reform China (from 1978 onwards), the industrial restructuring of state-owned enterprises has led to the devastating effects for women workers (such as the problems of “stepping-down” [下崗] or the increasing demand of productivity after the introduction of the piece-rate system).
Gender and Migration • Recent trend of migration (from the mid-1980s) is different from a centuries-old strategy used to adapt or simply survive. The recent trend is new in its nature, scale, and complexity that is driven by macro forces and not confined by national territory, sovereignty, or identity—now, migration is taken on a transnational character, the movement of people can be globally linked in time and space • Also, thanks to the wide use of telecommunications and the power of mass media, the global consciousness of interdependence among places and people is developed
Gender and Migration • Five common trends of recent Asian migration: • 1. an increasing feminization of migration • 2. a prominence of women as autonomous migration • 3. a shift from a traditional family migration to the migration of individuals • 4. a growing flexibility and diversity of Asian women migrants • 5. an increasing vulnerability of Asian women migrants that has heightened public awareness and policy concerns
Gender and Migration • Lin Lean Lim and Nana Oishi: in 1976, only 15% of 146,400 Asian migrants were women; in 1990s, about 800,000 women migrant workers per year • Internal migration: such as from northern/ northwestern to southern China; • Transnational migration: • Major sending countries: the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand • Major receiving countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei • Most women migrants are employed as domestic helpers
Gender and Migration • Why women? • Lim and Oishi point out that “the supply of Asian female labor migrants has been very flexible relative both to men from their own countries and to female migrants from other parts of the world.” • Their research also finds that, for both married and single Asian women, particularly young one and those with college education, would catch up any job opportunity either it is a skilled or unskilled job
Gender and Migration • The migration process offers an opportunity for women, but it might also produce grave consequences • Women with lower levels of education, fewer skills, and limited access to information may fall victim to schemes in the labor recruitment. They might end up into occupations that are not what they contracted to do, may face underemployment or become embroiled in human trafficking