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Are women being affected negatively by globalization and liberalization?
The present century is being characterized by an integrated transnational world economy and effect of globalization is being felt in all spheres of life.

According to the United Nations, in the age of globalization, governments' policy choices have shifted in favour of openness of trade and financial flow as well as privatization of state-owned enterprises. Consequently, a lower public spending has become evident in the programmes of various governments around the world and India is no exception to that.

Some UN's study reports suggest that economic growth fostered by recent liberalization policies could cause increased inequality and a decline in living standards. The current trend of globalization, liberalization and privatization though offers some opportunities, but it has also thrown up serious challenges for human development and gender equality.

"The significant gender differences and disparities with respect to decision-making powers, participation, and returns for effort that prevail in different societies need to be taken into account when responding to the forces of globalization. Because of gender inequalities and discrimination in all parts of the world, women can be affected negatively by globalization processes to a greater extent than men. On the other hand, there can be significant gains for women with globalization. It is necessary to systematically monitor the gender impact of change so that the goals of gender equality and the expansion of human capabilities are not sacrificed," says a UN report.

Furthermore, the impact of globalization on women and gender relations continues to be neglected nationally and internationally at the policy level in many countries, state UN surveys. However, the UN assures, "Entities of the United Nations system are taking steps to integrate the goals of macro-economics with those of social development. Yet more remains to be done to integrate gender equality dimensions in their normative, policy and operational work so as to ensure the continuing leadership of the system in promoting gender equality, development and peace within the context of globalization."

A three-day national seminar was held at a women's university in Rajasthan was help a few years ago on the theme of 'Globalization through Gender Lens' which I too attended. An analysis of voices of concern raised by the academicians and researchers on the present wave of globalization showed that they have accepted it with some cautions even though it does not implicate gender equity in its agenda.

A meta-analysis of the papers presented and circulated at the seminar (N=45) indicated that the papers could be classified in three categories, i.e., favourable, unfavourable, and neutral towards globalization from gender perspective. While there were no significant differences among the participants' reactions to globalization among three categories, but among the mature paper presenters, there were significantly unfavourable reactions towards globalization.

It was gathered that the young and middle-aged academicians and researchers think that globalization is here to stay and better accept it even with a pinch of salt. Their general remark has been, 'Globalization is here, whether you like it or not.' However, it was stressed the globalization should implicate gender equity in their policies, processes and practices.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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