20 August 2012

Gendered impacts of globalization: employment and social protection

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) has published a briefing paper on the gendered impacts of globalization.  This brief draws on a review of existing literature conducted by UNRISD in 2012 and provides useful background information to inform the implementation of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development, promoted by IFSW and our partners (IASSW and ICSW).

The literature review confirms that ‘globalization has led to increases in female labour force participation, reducing the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation rates. However this increase has not necessarily translated into gender equality in pay and status, as women’s entrance in the labour force has often been on unfavourable terms.’

The briefing paper draws the following implications for policies and programmes aiming to promote gender equality:

‘Tight monetary and fiscal policies, and free trade and capi­tal flows, have proved not to be conducive to improvements in well-being and gender equality.

‘The liberalization of trade and capital flows should not be pursued as ends in themselves. Rather, trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) policies must serve as tools of development.

‘If economic growth is to be broadly shared, it is necessary to introduce a set of labour market policies and related interventions that can affect wages and working conditions in diverse employment situations, and rectify gender imbal­ances and discriminatory practices.

‘Wage workers and the self-employed need better social protection, through registration of enterprises and registration in social insurance programmes (health, maternity, old age).

‘Legislation on minimum wage (indexed to inflation) and anti-discrimination, as well as the regulation of working conditions, can be other useful tools for wage workers. However, these policies require greater regulatory capacity on the part of the state and workers’ organizations/trade unions.’

Read the briefing paper here

UNRISD Mission

‘The UNRISD mission is to generate knowledge and articulate policy alternatives on contemporary development issues, thereby contributing to the broader goals of the UN system of reducing poverty and inequality, advancing well-being and rights, and creating more democratic and just societies.’

UNRISD Mandate

‘UNRISD was established in 1963 as an autonomous space within the UN system for the conduct of policy-relevant, cutting-edge research on social development that is pertinent to the work of the United Nations Secretariat; regional commissions and specialized agencies; and national institutions.’