There are gender- related implications that are associated with the social constructivism of markets. In the contemporary societies, it has been established that women perform the largest proportions of unpaid work. A survey by the UNDP established that volunteer services offered by women would amount to a rough estimate of up to sixteen trillion dollars which is equivalent to 69% of the world’s labor force (UNDP 1995). It is women who largely engage in unpaid production in subsistence economies such as domestic work, agriculture and volunteerism. Gender stereotyping has played an immense role in the markets. For a long time markets have been linked to the male- figures and publicity whereas women are linked to nature and reproduction. This inspection has as a result led to an impact on the meanings of gender based on femininity and masculinity.
Literature has indicated that gender disparities in norms, values and behaviors exist over history recordings. Data from the UNDP shows that although high numbers of women are involved in unpaid activities, the field is not an exclusive to women. Similarly the market is not a reserve for men only. Globally, there is an economic shift due to the involvement of women in paid or unpaid activities (folbre 2000). Tradition, religion, kin, community and social status have over the years influenced the norms and individual values over time. With modernization and market rationality have been found to respond better to market criteria. The society has an effect on the gender preferences with women expected to exhibit constitutive desires, empathic and emotional- connective behavior than their male counterparts. Women tend to be more emotionally connected than men due to the profound gender ideology and their role in family nurturance.
Gender and Globalization
The relationship between gender and globalization has been largely affected by the structural and economic forces. The past three decades have continuously reconstituted the gender roles and gender equality. Recently, women are searching for financial autonomy, higher bargaining power and control over their lives. Globalization has intensified leading to increased employment of women. This has been a sharp contrast as compared to the past decades in the sixties and seventies. There has been a preference for female workers particularly in industries relying on low cost productions for global markets. Empirical studies have indicated that women are more adaptive in defending the interests of the family and the community at large incase they are faced by unfavorable conditions even in the markets.
The export processing zones (EPZs) and informal markets which are linked to the global capital’s mobility have records of women’s highs particularly in Asia, Central America and Caribbean countries. For instance, Panama has a record of 95 percent of women in the labor force. Although substantive data is difficult to establish, globalization has been found initiated the networking of prostitution and related services. A case in point, Malaysia recorded an augment to 600,000 in the years 1993 and 1994. Policy and actions regarding prostitution have continuously been addressed to females rather than the male clients. The feminization of the labor force has been experienced across many countries. It has however been linked to deterioration of working conditions brought about by global competition. Women play a key role in coping with the international competition and global markets earning them an advantageous position in the global economy. Similarly, gender inequality in wages and working conditions have declined although Asian economies display the widest wage gaps despite being among the rapid growing economies.
The Ambiguities of Market Effects
Gender roles and gender relations have been significantly affected by globalization irrespective of countries or cultures. A non-essentialist view of gender differences implies that economic and social change will significantly influence gender roles. Patriarchal traditions, unfair division of labor and breach of individual autonomy especially towards women have significantly reduced. A report by the World Bank established that transition from traditional to modern lifestyles impacts women positively, leaving them liberated. Correspondingly, market forces have transformed the social norms since the concept of modernity has brought with it the modern or the perceived enlightened regulations.
The issue of gender equality has been a goal for most femininists. Gender differences in regard to power and social status have shaped the relationship between the sexes in the social context. In pursuit of gender equality, gender traits and the roles it accompanies have perpetuated over time. Ambiguity as a result occurs when premises of thoughts among men and women causes tension in a variety of ways. For instance, author carol Tavris of the New York Times concerning the united states elections, wrote that women tend to be more sentimental, risk aversive and less competitive as compared to their male counterparts. As a result, they tend to be less inclined to be appreciative of free-market economics.
The market society is based on self interests which snow-ball to signs of disequilibrium such as inequality, unemployment, rivalry, pressure on exchanges and environmental degradation (Polanyi, 1996). Imbalances and crises generated by uncontrolled markets have increasingly self-interests in political, social and economic aspects of life. In addition, social tensions involving rising crime rates, insecurity and problems associated to AIDS have also been on the rise. Economist bias has been experienced due to conformist decisions in the policy making decisions. This has attributed to high unemployment and under development in some communities or countries. Globalization has been linked to lack of social cohesiveness in areas such as the Scandinavian countries. Concentration of power is in large corporations have also led to inequalities. Discrimination and negative self interests at local and international levels have influenced human welfare negatively.