How Women Have Fared With the Rise of the People's Republic of China in Global Supply Chain Trade
27 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 2017
Global supply chain (GSC) trade has been a driving force underlying economic transformation, urbanization, and social change in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Female migrants account for a large share of the labor force in the country’s GSC production base. Using province-level panel data, this study employs regression analysis to examine how the country’s rapid integration into the supply chain has affected women’s welfare outcomes captured by occupational status. The analysis shows mixed results. On the one hand, global integration through trade expansion improved the concentration of men and women equally in professional and skilled occupations and in management positions. On the other hand, female employment in manufacturing for GSC trade increased faster than male employment. This trend decreased in turn the male–female sex ratio among those aged 0–4 years. This finding is consistent with other studies on the PRC that confirm the beneficial effect of a relative rise in women’s income in reducing the sex imbalance. Gender-specific policies should support female migrants in moving up the job ladder in GSC trade through higher education and skills training for professional and leadership positions. This should be complemented with incentives for the private sector — the biggest source of employment in the PRC — to promote gender equality by harnessing the advancement in technology and opportunities offered by the rapid growth of GSC trade.
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