Gendered Labour Markets and Globalisation in Asia

43 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2012

See all articles by Gita Sen

Gita Sen

Indian Institute of Management (IIMB), Bangalore

Date Written: September 30, 2000


This paper argues that processes of economic globalisation have significantly transformed labour markets in Asia during the last three decades. A central feature of this transformation is the growing importance of female labour at the core of economic processes. This feature has been extensively discussed by feminist economists and anthropologists but received relatively little attention in macro-policy debates. At best, policies towards women workers are viewed as welfare measures of primary interest to the women themselves. The paper argues that such a view is short-sighted and its limitations are becoming evident in the context of the recent economic crisis.

Gender-biased or “gendered” labour markets, as we call them, are not only a problem for women workers. They also trap economies on the so-called low road of labour-intensive growth, making it difficult to garner the full fruits of growth, or to ensure its sustainabililty. Sustainable human development focused on the conditions of women’s participation in labour markets can lay a firmer grounding for sustained increased in income per capita. Sustainability in the paper is viewed along three dimensions – human development, the gains from trade and integration into the global economy, and resilience in the face of economic shocks such as the recent crisis.

The paper is divided into three main sections:

1) The implications of globalisation for the transformation of labout markets 2) The micro and macro implications of gendered labour markets, and 3) The policy implications of gendered labour markets under gloablisation

Suggested Citation

Sen, Gita, Gendered Labour Markets and Globalisation in Asia (September 30, 2000). IIM Bangalore Research Paper No. 159, Available at SSRN: or

Gita Sen (Contact Author)

Indian Institute of Management (IIMB), Bangalore ( email )

Bannerghatta Road
Bangalore, Karnataka

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics