Chapter 6: Globalisation and Empowerment
INTRODUCTION Bhagwati (2002) in his WIDER memorial lecture argued the case that globalisation was good for the dignity of women. To illustrate his point, he questioned feminists’ criticisms that had attempted to show that one of the main implications of globalisation was for women from the third world to go and become nannies in upper-middle-class homes in the USA, leaving their own children with nannies back in their countries of origin. Bhagwati felt this experience actually benefited women from the third world, because they in turn experienced American ways of life and therefore were able to go home and argue the case of human rights and question male dominance: ‘The same goes for women in the ‘global childcare chain’ who go abroad for work. It is even suggested by some critics that the migrant women in such occupations lose a sense of self-respect because they work for other women’s children while missing their own. But the opposite is also possible, in my experience in my own household and seems more likely. The key is that these women come from poor and traditional, almost feudal, societies where women’s rights are far less recognized, if at all. Seeing how the women they work for are treated with greater respect and dignity and also how they themselves are generally treated by their men and women employers with the regard and courtesy that is often missing in the feudal or traditional cultures they come from, acts as an eye-opener that reinforces their search for...
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