Trade Liberalisation and Female Employment in Botswana and South Africa

38 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2019

See all articles by Kholiswa Malindini

Kholiswa Malindini

Wits University

Odile Mackett

University of the Witwatersrand - Wits School of Governance

Date Written: December 21, 2018

Abstract

The literature on trade liberalisation has presented female labour force participation and employment as positive outcomes which can be realised through trade. Given that female employment depends on the growth and gender composition of the industries affected by trade, authors have found conflicting evidence on the topic. However, Çaǧatay (2005) has put forth hypotheses to explain possible scenarios under which feminisation of the labour force can take place, namely the buffer, segmentation and substitution hypotheses. The purpose of this research paper is to determine which of these hypotheses are congruent with changes in female labour force participation in Botswana and South Africa. Both are middle income countries with similar trade compositions which have undertaken trade liberalisation strategies over the last few decades and have experienced positive growth in female labour force participation. Micro and macroeconomic data on trade and employment were utilised for both countries and the findings suggest that the substitution hypothesis holds for both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors in Botswana. While the substitution hypothesis also holds in the South African agricultural sector, the buffer hypothesis holds in the manufacturing sector. Though the female employment growth in both these countries is a positive labour market indicator, developing countries such as these should strive towards attaining outcomes which resemble the segmentation hypothesis to ensure the sustainability of female employment growth. To achieve this, trade and industrial policies should identify female-dominated sectors, or at least sectors which are an important source of female employment, and gear development towards those. In addition, labour policies should be developed in conjunction with these trade and industrial policies to protect the rights of the workers in these industries.

Keywords: Buffer, feminisation, labour force participation, substitution and segmentation hypotheses, trade liberalisation

Suggested Citation

Malindini, Kholiswa and Mackett, Odile, Trade Liberalisation and Female Employment in Botswana and South Africa (December 21, 2018). GLOBUS Research Paper 14/2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3309608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3309608

Kholiswa Malindini (Contact Author)

Wits University ( email )

Johannesburg
South Africa
0117173866 (Phone)

Odile Mackett

University of the Witwatersrand - Wits School of Governance ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000
South Africa

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