Gender, class, and work: the complex impacts of globalization


Brumley, Krista M. 2010. “Gender, Class, and Work: The Complex Impacts of Globalization.” Edited by M. T. Segal. Interactions and Intersections of Gendered Bodies at Work, at Home, And At Play 14: 95–119.

Author: Krista Brumley


Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the literature on work, gender, and globalization using an intersectional approach.

Methodology – The data for this chapter are derived from two years of qualitative fieldwork at a Mexican multinational corporation. I conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews with 86 employees at all levels of the organizational hierarchy as well as content analysis of the company magazine.

Findings – My findings suggest that globalization leads to similar benefits for women and men, with respect to autonomy and decision making in the workplace, but are framed distinctly depending on class. Globalization is gendered in that it offers an additional benefit of economic independence to women. Women at different levels of occupational prestige, however, experience the globalizing process in diverse ways. I conclude by suggesting that globalization results in a tension within the company in how to incorporate female workers in a more meaningful manner.

Originality/value of chapter – Research on globalization in the developing world primarily examines factory workers or women in certain occupations, such as domestic workers. This study focuses on an overlooked group of workers that includes female and male white-collar workers. It offers a comparative analysis of the gendered and class-based effects of globalization on workers of different ranks within the same company. Most globalization studies on Mexico center on the Maquila industry, whereas this study examines workers in a Mexican-owned international company.

Topics: Class, Economies, Gender, Globalization, International Organizations, Multi-national Corporations Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2010

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