Chapter 11: Inequality rising: the gendered impacts of precarious labor and financialization
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In the new global economy, two simultaneous processes have re-crafted the lived realities of people across the Global South. The first has to do with the rapid informalization and feminization of the global labor force, which has led to more precarious labor contracts. This has to do with the proliferation of global production networks (GPNs), fragmented production processes and indiscriminate outsourcing. The second has been the increasing formalization of credit channels in places never before mapped by the major financial centers of the world. The fact that these two processes have occurred at the same time is no coincidence. The informalization and feminization of labor, does not just overlap the rising formalization of credit, the one feeds off of the other. Women are increasingly being shouldered with the responsibility of bringing in the major portion of the family income, though their work contracts are much more precarious than what men have previously enjoyed. At the same time, women of the Global South have been labelled as more creditworthy than their men by formal finance. The redirecting of work and credit away from poor men and towards poor women has been lauded as an important win for gender equality. In reality, these processes have led to increasingly insecure livelihoods, and a greater burden on women to fund social reproduction, often at very high rates of interest. The simultaneous disenfranchisement of men has led to higher levels of domestic violence for women. All of this, has meant higher levels of poverty, inequality and risk for women and their households.

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