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lecture 16 - Women,Culture,andSociety...

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Women, Culture, and Society Professor Yana V. Rodgers Class 16
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Women, Culture, and Society Class 16 Women’s Paid Work in the Global Workforce: International Trade and Labor Standards
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Organization 1. Motivation 2. China’s Competitiveness 3. Legislation and Compliance: How China Compares 4. Policy Options 5. Discussion
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Motivation Quota elimination from the end of the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) has caused major changes in world trade and production patterns in textiles and garments Large production gains for China and India (low cost producers of textiles and garments) Losses for many low-cost producers who are not protected with alternative favorable trade arrangements. Disproportionate job losses for women workers Global policy dialogues center around what countries can do to respond to this change in trade rules. Two options: Race to the bottom: compete with China on basis of low labor costs, weaken and dismantle labor standards. Take the “high road:” compete on the basis of quality, higher wages consistent with productivity.
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Motivation Both options have gendered implications: Race to the bottom: Difficulty improving working conditions for women workers High road: In the course of upgrading potential loss of jobs to male workers Objective of this paper: Evaluate which scenario is more likely by examining theory and evidence on 1) impact of labor standards on international competitiveness, and 2) labor legislation and compliance in Asia.
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