Export-oriented employment

Export-oriented employment Refers to employment in multinational corporations ‘ international industrial factories, usually Located in Developing Countries . Such factories produce goods and services for sale in other countries. While these multinational producers have developed a women’s access to employment, evidence suggests they do so by reinforcing gender roles or creating new gender inequalities . [1] [2] Such gender inequities allow multinational companies to increase their profits per worker than they would otherwise owe to the decreased labor cost. This decrease in the cost of labor is a result of the relegation of women to certain occupations. Studies show that in the quest for lower cost labor costs, export-oriented facilities create poor working conditions. [3]


Work in international factories has become an option for women in developing countries . [4] This opportunity, which has increased since the last part of the 1960s, represents the production of goods to be sold explicitly to more developed countries.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, developing countries emerged as the sites to relocate labor-intensive manufacturing industries, as they were moved away from developed countries. [5] This expansionism has the potential to create more and more countries. Upon greater enhancement, developing countries were able to bolster their industrialized processes by swapping imported goods in favor of domestically produced. However, within the last 40 years this process has been developed. Additionally, international trade has expanded in a distinct manner that is linked to manufacturing processes.

From the 1970s forward, the global marketplace and the makeup of the laboratory have had transformations by way of technological innovation, work structure, and new forms of controlling labor. [6] Because of changes in the wider labor market , women have joined the labor force in greater numbers and tend to remain a part of the force. In addition, many employees have been deployed in the field. Additionally, these characteristics commonly related to female employment such as temporary arrangements, low wages, and job instability have risen. Moreover, these patterns have increased vis-a-vis characteristics identified with male labor, such as unionization and job security. Consequently,

Bangladesh textile industry is one of the world’s leading exporters . By 2013, about 4 million people, mostly women, worked in Bangladesh’s $ 19 billion-a-year industry, export-oriented ready-made garment (RMG) industry. Sixty percent of the export contracts of western brands are with American buyers. [7]

Women as the preferred labor force

Gender roles vary by society, but are often based in social ideas that women have different natural abilities and a more suitable temperament for certain work as compared to men. [4] Typically, women have been the preferred labor force in export-oriented factories because they allow for lower unit labor costs. Additionally, women are often deemed more physically dexterous and are regarded as more tempered in reference to their personality. As a result of which, some have argued that women are stereotyped as being able to complete tasks that are mundane.

There is evidence to support the argument that women receive such perceived traits or skills in a non-formal and independent setting. [4] However, as a result of which, women’s skills employed in a factory setting are likely to be viewed as less valuable compared to other skill sets. Thus, women can be described as being relegated to an inferior status because their abilities are not equally valued. Finally, while women in factory settings are often unfairly demoted and forced into submissive roles, they are aware of their perceived lower status and do not accept it.

Dominguez et al. (2010) note that in processing centers located in Mexico, employers favored hiring married females. [2] In this context, Dominguez et al. Note that married women were seen as more dependable and as a result of which, better employees. The same authors also note that employers have put forth that such a system allowed the families of those hired to be better supported. However, Dominguez et al. Claim to a decision on the employment of workers.

In a 2003 analysis of a Chinese electronics producer, Pun Ngai found that surveyed workers sought employment by migrating from a variety of areas across the country and were employed for a period that was less than 36 months. [3] The workers surveyed by Ngai were largely in their early 20’s and nearly three-quarters were female.

Working conditions

Wage levels

In an examination of Chinese factories producing electronic goods for the west, including Apple and Microsoft , reporting that workers are often paid less than 2 USD per hour. [8]

In the last part of 2011, weekly payments for minimum wage workers in Cambodia’s garment industry totaled 8117 Riel. [9] Despite the fact that they do not provide sustainable wages. Moreover, for Cambodian garment manufacturers to remain competitive, factory owners must keep wages low. Creating higher wages poses risks for factory owners that other countries acceptance export orders will usurp their place. However, in spite of the fact that this is a great opportunity,

Beginning in the beginning of the millennium and ending in 2010, workers in Cambodia ‘s garment sector have their inflation adjusted wages by 17%. [9] These wages are expected to continue to fall through the year 2014.


In Cambodia, “a group that has been originally designated to oversee and improve factory conditions. [9] As a result of this, Additionally, managers can eliminate additional costs by imposing excessive overtime on fewer workers, versus giving a greater share of benefits to a larger population with less overtime.

In discussions with Cambodia ‘s garment sector workers, many have noted that burdensome overtime was particularly strenuous, but also because of falling wages. [9] Moreover, workers in the industry have called for the option to choose when to engage in overtime hours, versus required overtime work delegated to them.


Pun Ngai has analyzed laboratory systems in Chinese dormitories that are intertwined with production sites and labor. [3] In this analysis, evidence is put forth that details how migrant laborers in export-processing areas have been forced into such residences that allow for complete worker control. This control comes from the dormitory grounds being secured by security guards that prevent worker exits. This structure is often rationalized as a benefit to the workers.

Additionally, dormitories of this kind can house hundreds of workers, where as many workers may share a room. [3] While such conditions can be detrimental to workers, it may also be a source of discomfort through which workers may easily become united for common causes.

Safety concerns

In 2012, a fireworks factory in Karachi , Pakistan that killed approximately 300 people. [10] Facing imminent death, many workers leapt from upper levels of the factory, leading to many injuries as they landed. In addition, they had no exceptions.

In 2013, 2013 has garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed , killing at least 1000 people and injuring approximately 2500 others. [11] A worker noted a blatant structural flaw before the collapse, however, factory management allowed work to continue. [12]

In 2013 a shoe factory in Cambodia collapsed many people and injuring many others. [13]

Cambodian facilities overseen by “Better Factories Cambodia” had many issues related to workers’ health and safety. [9] Of the factories assessed, the majority had a lack of restroom sanitizing products, excessively high temperature levels, and no access to safe water for drinking.

Kalpona Akter, a trainee in Bangladeshi, is a trainee in the United States. [14] Akter notes that factory managers value the goods that are being produced instead of worker well-being.


In 2005, students at a variety of universities in the United States engaged in protests against colleges that purchase goods in order to sell with their personal namesakes. [15] In their quest for better outcomes, some of the students in protest have urged universities to create special independent contracts with international apparel factories that require stringent oversight, as well as promises to refrain from producing goods. Educational institution. Protesters also argue that because of these industrial workers receive payments that are equal to two percent of an item’s selling price, the earnings for industrial workers should allotted on the prices of the area of ​​which they work.

Rachel Silvey has been a member of this group. [16] Such university protests challenge global neoliberal policies that are explicitly intertwined with current university policies.

In the export-oriented industry in Thailand , women make up the majority of those employed, and are often the most vitriolic objects to workplace injustices. [17] In defying conventional norms that portray women as passive, Mill describes incidents where Thai activists shaved their heads and threaten to write protest letters in their own blood.

In 2012 Aminul Islam , a Bangladeshi labor supporter, was found murdered. [18] Highlighting the intensity of the struggle between laborers and owners, reports indicate that Islam was tortured prior to his death.

In 2014, workers employed in Cambodia’s garment industry, who are predominantly female, protested against the government’s minimum wage level. [19] Some participants in Cambodia’s Garment Manufacturing Association responded to protests by noting that Cambodia would move elsewhere.

Unions and workers’ rights

In Cambodian export factories, workers often face hardship in regards to participating in unionization efforts that differ from that of management philosophy. [9] Workers have seen deliberate efforts by managers to dismantle union activities, which have often included threats or the initiation of violence.

Among other Asian countries, Bangladesh has extremely poor rights regarding unionization. [20] There is evidence citation needed ] That this problem May be connected to, and Exacerbated by, Bangladesh’s reliance is exporting vêtements in the past three decades. Highlighting the lack of collectivity, a mere 2 percent of employees were active in unions.


In this paper, we present the results of a study of the role of discrimination in the labor market. [5] Intertwined in this attention, critics have looked to connect such minimum standards to broader global trading treaties. This pairing, Known as a ” social clause ” AIMS to international power trade bodies Such As the World Trade Organization (WTO) to integrate seven core International Labor Organization (ILO) labor rights conventions into trade agreements and attach penalties To Those That do not .

Advocacy on behalf of labor rights in the global north. [5] In this regard, many entities may support such a theme because of a personal economic interest or indignation towards unfair labor practices. Comparatively, the lesser developed countries and private groups in those countries are often skeptical of such trade agreements as they are designed to further enrich the global north.

Despite the precariousness found in export-oriented factories, research has indicated that women in developing countries are satisfied by the opportunity to have a formal factory job, compared to the limited informal ways of making money. [5] This contentment on the part of women is created through the ability to garner greater independence as well as increasing oversight within their homes.

In 1999, Cambodia and the United States entered into a trade agreement with the US / Cambodia Bilateral Textile Trade Agreement. [21] This Better Factories Cambodia. [20] With initial funding totaling $ 1.4 million, the program aims to increase oversight by way of ILO employees in conjunction with bolstering the administrative abilities of the Cambodian government. While the program has yielded positive results in regard to minimum wages and equitable timely payments, there are recurrent problems in regards to safety and excessive overtime.

See also

  • Free Trade Zone
  • Export-oriented industrialization
  • Gender and development
  • Global workforce


  1. Jump up^ Seguino, Stephanie ; Grown, Caren (November 2006). “Gender equity and globalization: macroeconomic policy for developing countries” . Journal of International Development . Wiley. 18 (8): 1081-1104. Doi :10.1002 / jid.1295 . Pdf version – via the World Bank.
  2. ^ Jump up to:b Domínguez, E., Icaza, R., Quintero, C., López, S., & Stenman, Å. (2010). Women Workers in the Maquiladoras and the Debate on Global Labor Standards. Feminist Economics, 16 (4), 185-209. doi: 10.1080 / 13545701.2010.530603
  3. ^ Jump up to:d Pun, N. (2007) “Gendering the Dormitory Labor System: Production, Reproduction and Migrant Labor in South China.” Feminist Economics. 13 (3-4): 239-258.
  4. ^ Jump up to:c Elson, D. & Pearson, R. (1981). “The Subordination of Women and Internationalization of Factory Production” in K. Young et al. Of Marriage and the Market, CSE 214-216; 219-221
  5. ^ Jump up to:d Kabeer, N. (2004). “Globalization, Labor Standards, and Women’s Rights: Dilemmas of Collective (In) action in an Interdependent World.” Feminist Economics. 10 (1): 3-35.
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  7. Jump up^ Paul, Ruma; Quadir, Serajul (4 May 2013). “Bangladesh urges no harsh EU measures over factory deaths” . Dhaka: Reuters.
  8. Jump up^ Cooper, R. (2013, January 25). Inside apple’s chinese ‘sweatshop’ factory where workers are paid just £ 1.12 per hour to produce iphones and ipads for the west. The Daily Mail. Retrieved fromhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103798/Revealed-Inside-Apples-Chinese-sweatshop-factory-workers-paid-just-1-12-hour.html
  9. ^ Jump up to:f International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, Stanford Law School & Workers Rights Consortium. (2013, February) “Monitoring in the dark.” Retrieved from http://humanrightsclinic.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Monitoring-in-the-Dark-Stanford-WRC.pdf
  10. Jump up^ Hasan, SS (2012, September 12). Deadly karachi blaze was “waiting to happen”. BBC News Asia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-19577450
  11. Jump up^ Brennan, C. (2013, May 10). Bangladesh factory collapse toll passes 1,000. BBC News Asia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-22476774
  12. Jump up^ Zain Al-Mahmood, S., & Banjo, S. (2013, April 24). Deadly collapse in bangladesh garment factory crumbles, killing at least 200. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved fromhttp://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324874204578441912031665482
  13. Jump up^ Sinith, H. & Chan Thul, P. (2013, May 15). At least 6 dead after cambodian factory collapses: union member. Retrieved fromhttp://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/15/18285291-at-least-6-dead-after-cambodian-factory-collapses-union-member?lite
  14. Jump up^ Labor Activist sheds light on working conditions in Bangladeshi sweatshops. Public Service Alliance of Canada. (2013, December 16). Retrieved fromhttp://psacunion.ca/labour-activist-sheds-light-working-conditions-bangladeshi-sweatshops
  15. Jump up^ Appelbaum, R., & Dreier, P. (2005). Students Confront Sweatshops. Nation, 281 (18), 28.
  16. Jump up^ Silvey, R. (2004). A Wrench in the Global Works: Anti-Sweatshop Activism on Campus. Antipode, 36 (2), 191-197. doi: 10.1111 / j.1467-8330.2004.00398.x
  17. Jump up^ From Nimble Fingers to Raised Fists: Women and Labor Activism in Globalizing Thailand. Mary Beth Mills. Signs, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Autumn 2005), p. 117-144. Published by: The University of Chicago Press. Article DOI: 10.1086 / 431370. Article Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/431370
  18. Jump up^ Ali Manik, J., & Bajaj, V. (2012, April 9). Killing of Bangladeshi labor organizer signals an escalation in violence. The New York Times. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/world/asia/bangladeshi-labor-organizer-is-found-killed.html?_r=1&
  19. Jump up^ Narin, S., & Wong, CH (2014 January 2). Cambodian Garment Workers return to the streets. The Wall Street Journal
  20. ^ Jump up to:b Berik, G., & Van Der Meulen Rodgers, Y. (2008). Options for Enforcing Labor Standards: Lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia. Journal of International Development , (22), 56-85. Doi: 10.1002 / jid
  21. Jump up^ Trade, Monitoring, and the ILO: Working to Improve Conditions in Cambodia’s Garment Factories, Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal Vol. 7, 2004, p. 79-107 (7 Yale Hum., Rts. & Dev. LJ 79) (2004).

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