Proposal preview

Women’s economic position in a globalising world

There is a substantial body of research into the link between the position of women and economic development. It has shown that there is a reciprocal relationship between the two: economic development can empower women; and at the same time empowerment of women is important for economic development (Duflo 2012).

Since the 1970s, significant progress has been made in achieving gender equality. Economic development has received substantial attention in explaining this progress ,however the link is mediated by institutions and culture. For example, the fact that regions such as the Middle East remain more gender inegalitarian can, to an extent, be explained by norms and values (Dilli, Rijpma and Carmichael 2015).

While economic development and institutions have received a great deal of attention as contributing factors, much less is known about the relationship between the globalisation process and the position of women. This gap in our knowledge is significant, especially historically. The roots of globalisation can be argued to go back as far as the 16th century. This gives us a long time frame in which to explore how processes of globalisation altered the position of women within and across societies.

The globalisation process has coincided with changes in the position of women, both positive and negative. To what extent globalisation drives these changes is not clear, however globalisation changes economies and societies in ways that can be expected to greatly affect women. For one, globalisation causes specific patterns of development and specialisation. For instance the rise of export industries such as textiles in some countries and desindustrialisation and cash crop agriculture in others (Williamson 2011) could lead to new employment opportunities for women. In a further development related to globalisation the establishment of bodies such as the UN has gone hand in hand with the rise of an international development community, and the ratification of various conventions aimed at improving women’s legal standing.

Migration flows were an important aspect of globalisation, especially in the nineteenth century. Because there were more male than female migrants, this had implications for labour markets in both origin and recipient countries. Marriage markets were also affected, with implications for fertility. Such changes even influenced the values surrounding the position of women in society, which can persist to the present day (Grosjean and Khattar 2015).

More generally, together with economic integration, globalisation is a process of cultural and institutional exchange. Not only does this have a direct influence on the position of women, it can also be a channel for the persistence of gender inequality.

This session will bring together researchers working on globalisation and the economic position of women in all periods and regions. Papers will cover the role of women in globalisation, the effect of globalisation on the position of women, as well as the long-term consequences of these changes.

Organizer(s)

  • Sarah G Carmichael Universiteit Utrecht s.g.carmichael@uu.nl
  • Auke Rijpma International Institute of Social History a.rijpma@uu.nl
  • Selin Dilli Universiteit Utrecht s.dilli@uu.nl

Session members

  • Jeanne Cilliers, Stellenbosch University
  • Silvana Maubrigades, University of the Republic, Uruguay
  • Maria Camou, University of the Republic, Uruguay
  • Sun Go, Chung Ang University, Seoul
  • Felix Meier zu Selhausen, University of Sussex

Discussant(s)

Papers

Panel abstract

Since the 1970s, significant progress has been made in achieving gender equality. Economic development has received substantial attention in explaining this progress ,though the link is mediated by institutions and culture. While economic development and institutions have received a great deal of attention as contributing factors, less is known about the relationship between globalisation and the position of women. This gap in our knowledge is significant, especially historically. The roots of globalisation arguably go back as far as the 16th century. This gives us a long time frame in which to explore how processes of globalisation altered the position of women. This session will bring together researchers working on globalisation and the economic position of women in all periods and regions. Papers will cover the role of women in globalisation, the effect of globalisation on the position of women, as well as the long-term consequences of these changes.

1st half

The decline of gender bias in schooling in 20th century Korea

Sun Go

Formal schooling at the elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels has expanded during the 20th century in Korea, leading to the remarkable human capital accumulation that enabled rapid economic growth. However, gender bias existed in the early rise of formal schooling, which lasted until the early-1960s at the elementary level and the 1980s in the secondary level. The gender bias in tertiary education persists today, showing a female-to-male student ratio of 0.684 in 2016. Analyzing both the administrative data and Census micro samples, factors that affected the decline of gender bias in formal schooling in the 20thcentury Korea are discussed. Besides the changes in the labor market conditions for women, the significant role of intra-household resource allocation across siblings is also recognized by the empirical analysis.

Formal schooling at the elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels has expanded during the 20th century in Korea, leading to the remarkable human capital accumulation that enabled rapid economic growth. However, gender bias existed in the early rise of formal schooling, which lasted until the early-1960s at the elementary level and the 1980s in the secondary level. The gender bias in tertiary education persists today, showing a female-to-male student ratio of 0.684 in 2016. Analyzing both the administrative data and Census micro samples, factors that affected the decline of gender bias in formal schooling in the 20thcentury Korea are discussed. Besides the changes in the labor market conditions for women, the significant role of intra-household resource allocation across siblings is also recognized by the empirical analysis.

Missionaries, Markets and Marriage: Gender Inequality and Elite Formation in Colonial British Africa

Felix Meier zu Selhausen, Jacob Weisdorf

Protestant missionary activities in colonial Africa have been praised for their comparatively benign effects on current African development, it remains an open question to what extent both African men and women were able to benefit from these developments during colonial times?In this paper we reconstruct the social and economic lives of 22,000 African men and women (1860-1960) using Christian marriage registers from seven major cities in colonial British East and West Africa to investigate long-term trends and determinants of African gender inequality. We find that (i) mission schooling served men to access formal and elite positions within the newly class-stratified colonial economy, while Victorian ideologies of Christian missions prepared women as “homemakers” and to marry elite men, (ii) limiting women’s economic opportunities and steeply increasing gender inequality in skilled and wage labour markets, (iii) that only started to converge around World War II with women increasingly entering formal careers.

Protestant missionary activities in colonial Africa have been praised for their comparatively benign effects on current African development, it remains an open question to what extent both African men and women were able to benefit from these developments during colonial times?In this paper we reconstruct the social and economic lives of 22,000 African men and women (1860-1960) using Christian marriage registers from seven major cities in colonial British East and West Africa to investigate long-term trends and determinants of African gender inequality. We find that (i) mission schooling served men to access formal and elite positions within the newly class-stratified colonial economy, while Victorian ideologies of Christian missions prepared women as “homemakers” and to marry elite men, (ii) limiting women’s economic opportunities and steeply increasing gender inequality in skilled and wage labour markets, (iii) that only started to converge around World War II with women increasingly entering formal careers.

The women participation in the labor market explained by demographic and social variables: the case of Latin America

Silvana Maubrigades

The main goal of this paper is to describe the evolution of the women participation in the labor market in Latin America, based on the linkage between demographic indicators (age at marriage and fertility) and socio-demographic (urbanization and education). We work with secondary sources and analyze the period 1950-2010 in all Latin American countries. The region shows a very heterogeneous and complex process of demographic transition. While at 1950 the fertility levels are already low in Uruguay and Argentina (around 3 children per woman), the rest of the countries in the region have values exceed 6 children per woman. Even at the end of the century, countries as Paraguay, Guatemala and Honduras remain with levels of 4 children per women. Brazil and Mexico, instead, are remarkable for the fast decline in the fertility rate between 1980 and 2000. This paper shows the linkage between fertility decline and women participation in...

The main goal of this paper is to describe the evolution of the women participation in the labor market in Latin America, based on the linkage between demographic indicators (age at marriage and fertility) and socio-demographic (urbanization and education). We work with secondary sources and analyze the period 1950-2010 in all Latin American countries. The region shows a very heterogeneous and complex process of demographic transition. While at 1950 the fertility levels are already low in Uruguay and Argentina (around 3 children per woman), the rest of the countries in the region have values exceed 6 children per woman. Even at the end of the century, countries as Paraguay, Guatemala and Honduras remain with levels of 4 children per women. Brazil and Mexico, instead, are remarkable for the fast decline in the fertility rate between 1980 and 2000. This paper shows the linkage between fertility decline and women participation in the labor market and the impact of the urbanization and education rate in this process.

2nd half

Marriage in Early Modern Amsterdam_abstract

Anita Boele, Sarah Carmichael, Tine De Moor

In this article we use data from the Amsterdam pre-marriage acts, 1585-1810, to investigate how marriage ages of both men and women developed in the long run before 1800. We also looked at developments in the spousal age gap. We focused our findings on the relationship between marriage ages and spousal age gap on the one hand and religion, occupation, literacy and migrant background on the other. In the second half of this paper, we investigate to what extent economic circumstances had an impact on the timing of marriage by comparing trends in real wages with marriage ages.

In this article we use data from the Amsterdam pre-marriage acts, 1585-1810, to investigate how marriage ages of both men and women developed in the long run before 1800. We also looked at developments in the spousal age gap. We focused our findings on the relationship between marriage ages and spousal age gap on the one hand and religion, occupation, literacy and migrant background on the other. In the second half of this paper, we investigate to what extent economic circumstances had an impact on the timing of marriage by comparing trends in real wages with marriage ages.

Socioeconomic status and female fertility in transition

Jeanne Cilliers

Female labour force participation and globalisation

Auke Rijpma, Sarah Carmichael, Selin Dilli

Since at least the 1970s, significant progress has been made in achieving gender equality. Economic development has received substantial attention in explaining this progress, though it has also become clear that the link is mediated by institutions and culture. While economic development and institutions have received a great deal of attention as contributing factors, much less is known about the relationship between the globalisation process and the position of women. This gap in our knowledge is significant, especially in the long term. This is unfortunate, since the globalisation process has coincided with changes in the position of women, both positive and negative. Moreover, there are good reasons to believe that the two are closely linked. For one, globalisation causes specific patterns of development and specialisation. For instance the rise of export industries such as textiles in some countries and deindustrialisation and cash crop agriculture in others (Williamson 2011) could lead...

Since at least the 1970s, significant progress has been made in achieving gender equality. Economic development has received substantial attention in explaining this progress, though it has also become clear that the link is mediated by institutions and culture. While economic development and institutions have received a great deal of attention as contributing factors, much less is known about the relationship between the globalisation process and the position of women. This gap in our knowledge is significant, especially in the long term. This is unfortunate, since the globalisation process has coincided with changes in the position of women, both positive and negative. Moreover, there are good reasons to believe that the two are closely linked. For one, globalisation causes specific patterns of development and specialisation. For instance the rise of export industries such as textiles in some countries and deindustrialisation and cash crop agriculture in others (Williamson 2011) could lead to new employment opportunities for women. Migration flows are also an important aspect of globalisation. Because there were more male than female migrants, this had implications for labour markets in both origin and recipient countries. Marriage markets were also affected, with implications for fertility. Such changes even influenced the values surrounding the position of women in society, which can persist to the present day (Grosjean and Khattar 2015). More generally, together with economic integration, globalisation is a process of cultural and institutional exchange. Not only does this have a direct influence on the position of women, it can also be a channel for the persistence of gender inequality. In this paper, we use internationally comparable microdata (IPUMS, DHS) to evaluate the impact of globalisation on female labour force participation since the 1960s, with particular attention to developing countries. By combining this with multiple country-level measures of globalisation, we can assess the impact of various aspects of the globalisation process. The richness of microdata moreover enables us to investigate the channels through which globalisation influences female labour force participation. For example, interactions with occupational structure, urban/rural origins,