Globalization and Mothering

Essay by supersaadiUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2011

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Globalization and Mothering

Globalization refers broadly to three main forms of worldwide integration: economic, political, and cultural. While globalization's definition as well as its impact is much debated, the term is commonly used to refer to the rise of interdependent national economies that created a global flow of capital, people, goods, and services during the second half of the 20th century. Globalization has undoubtedly created new economic opportunities for women. Since the 1960s, the number of women working for pay in the formal and informal sectors has risen markedly in every region. Women themselves have been beneficiaries of globalization. As wage earners, women are able to choose to delay or refuse marriage, participate in household decisions, and care for themselves and their children. An additional and unexpected benefit of globalization has been the increased ability of women's and feminist groups to form transnational networks.

However, as feminist scholars and activists have documented, globalization has created a several interrelated phenomena relevant to mothers and mothering, including unsafe working conditions, women's labor made cheap through national and international policies, environmental damage, women's transnational migration, and a global care crisis.

Although some of these factors follow a historical timeline, others should be considered as happening simultaneously, producing compounded effects.

History of Mothers and Globalization

Before considering how globalization has affected mothers, it is just as important to ask when globalization occurred, as to ask what globalization is. Although globalization usually refers to more recent historical phenomena, European imperialism and the subsequent industrial revolution began this process. From the 16th century onwards, imperialism involved mothers as European colonizers and as colonized subjects in underdeveloped countries. Globalization might be understood as consisting of several phases including European colonization of much of the globe; the growth of European trade in the 1800s; the contraction of world...