Table of Contents

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.

Chapter 67: Gender and Ethical Trade: Can Vulnerable Women Workers Benefit?

Stephanie Barrientos

Subjects: development studies, development studies, family and gender policy, geography, human geography, research methods in geography, law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


Stephanie Barrientos Introduction Corporate brands and retailers have long been the subject of campaigns by nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and trade unions for poor working conditions in their global supply base. In response, a large number of global buyers have introduced codes of labour practice to ensure that their suppliers observe minimum international labour standards. The more comprehensive codes are based on core International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, including no discrimination. A significant number of workers in export production are women. They are often concentrated in insecure and vulnerable employment (seasonal, casual, migrant, homework and contract work). It is among these groups of workers that the worst conditions of employment are usually found – low wages, long hours, lack of contracts, no unionisation, poor health and safety, and lack of social protection. But codes of labour practice often fail to reach more vulnerable women workers, with little impact on reducing casualisation or gender discrimination. This chapter asks whether codes of labour practice can help improve conditions for more vulnerable women workers. It argues that gender discrimination is embedded in the commercial practices of global value chains (GVCs). Global buyers need to integrate better the principles of ethical sourcing into their own business practices if more vulnerable women workers are to benefit. Codes of labour practice in global value chains Global brands and retailers now outsource much of their production to suppliers across the Global South. They are able to coordinate production, distribution and retailing across countries through GVCs. Global brands and retailers...

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