Multi-National Corporations

Gender Eclipsed? Racial Hierarchies in Transnational Call Center Work


Mirchandani, Kiran. 2005. “Gender Eclipsed? Racial Hierarchies in Transnational Call Center Work.” Social Justice 32 (4): 105–19.

Author: Kiran Mirchandani


Feminist ethnographies on the nature of global capitalism have provided a wealth of knowledge on the gendered nature of transnational subcontracting and on the ways that women in the many parts of Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America have been constructed as the "ideal" workers within transnational factories producing garments, food products, shoes, electronics, and transcriptions at nominal cost in developing countries. This article explores a seemingly opposite trend at play in Indian call centers that provide voice-to-voice service to U.S. clients. Call center work is in many ways the epitome of what is commonly seen as "women's work." Providing good service on the telephone requires skills associated with hegemonic femininity, such as being nice, making customers feel comfortable, and dealing with irate customers (Hochschild, 1983; Steinberg and Figart, 1999; Leidner, 1999). Yet, interestingly enough, call center work in the newly emerging centers in New Delhi is not always segregated by gender. In fact, in the interviews I conducted, managers, trainers, and workers unanimously and emphatically construct their jobs in call centers as free of gender-bias and equally appropriate formal and female workers. This article evaluates these discursive claims of occupational desegregation in transnational call center work in India. I argue that the gender segregation in segments of the outsourced call center industry in India is situated within the context of racial hierarchies between Indian workers and Western customers, which fundamentally structure transnational service work. Gender is "eclipsed" in the sense that it is hidden behind a profound, racialized gendering of jobs at a transnational level.

Topics: Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Globalization, Multi-National Corporations, Race Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2005

Gender, Globalization and Organization: Exploring Power, Relations and Intersections


Metcalfe, B. D., and C. J. Rees. 2010. “Gender, Globalization and Organization: Exploring Power, Relations and Intersections.” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal 29 (1): 5–22.

Authors: Beverly Dawn Metcalfe, Christopher J. Rees


Purpose – Current debates on neo-liberal and universalistic globalization pay little attention to gender or to other marginalized groups, and fail to consider the complexity and diversity of the experiences of men and women in specific socio-political contexts, especially those in the developing world. The paper challenges mainstream theories which present globalization and its associated forces as gender neutral. The main purpose of this paper is to advance theoretical debates on the gendered organizing dynamics of globalization.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on organization theory, gender and development studies literature, and feminist sociology, to advance critical understandings of contemporary debates of the intersecting qualities of globalization, transnational organizations and gender social divisions.

Findings – The paper provides a critical synthesis of the complexity and interconnections between gender, organization and globalization. The paper identifies international development agencies; transnational corporations; international nongovernmental organizations and government state machineries as key stakeholders in the global and national regulation of employment and diversity issues. The paper outlines the organizing praxis of these key stakeholders, and stresses the need for all actors to engage in human rights awareness and equality consciousness raising.

Originality/value – The paper provides an original gendered organization analysis of globalization which reveals the specificity of global-local linkages mediated by national states, international organizations, women’s NGOs and gendered government machineries.

Keywords: Gender, globalization, organizations, feminism, transnational companies

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Globalization, Governance, International Organizations, Multi-National Corporations, NGOs, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2010

Reclaiming Democracy? The Anti-Globalization Movement in South Asia


Rajgopal, Shoba S. 2002. “Reclaiming Democracy? The Anti-Globalization Movement in South Asia.” Feminist Review 70: 134–37.

Author: Shoba S. Rajgopal


This article studies anti-globalization activities in South Asia, and specifically the Indian subcontinent, and discovers that the common people have begun a new form of civil disobedience in the country, to counter the machinations of multinational corporations. Many of the eminent writers and activists at the forefront of the movement are Indian women, a fact that may come as a surprise to some, but is part and parcel of the movement's basis in sustainable development and resistance to patriarchal hegemony.

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Globalization, Multi-National Corporations, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2002

The Invisibility of Skilled Female Migrants and Gender Relations in Studies of Skilled Migration in Europe


Kofman, Eleonore. 2000. “The Invisibility of Skilled Female Migrants and Gender Relations in Studies of Skilled Migration in Europe.” International Journal of Population Geography 6 (1): 45–59.

Author: Eleonore Kofman


This paper examines the reasons for the invisibility of skilled female migrants in studies of skilled migration in Europe. The choice of research agendas has played a major part in rendering women invisible. The emphasis has generally been on transnational corporations, which, especially in their higher ranks, remain resolutely male-dominated. The presence of migrants in welfare sectors (i.e. education, health and social services), which are strongly feminised, has been ignored. Feminist research has also tended to obscure the role of skilled migrants in its emphasis on the unskilled. Theoretical and methodological developments in studies of migration have also made few inroads into our understanding of skilled migration.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Education, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Europe

Year: 2000

Economic Development Policies and Women Workers: Filipina Workers in a Japanese Transplant


 Licuanan-Galela, Niza. 2001. “Economic Development Policies and Women Workers: Filipina Workers in a Japanese Transplant.” NWSA Journal 13 (3): 169–80.

Author: Niza Licuanan-Galela


Introduction: Economic globalization has resulted in the integration of economies and workers on a worldwide scale. Export industrialization is one of the key strategies that has made globalization possible; central to the success of export industrialization programs are transnational corporations (TNCs) that engage in off-shore productions. Encouraged by the economic success of export industrialization, many developing countries have anchored their development programs on this economic strategy. To secure investment in their countries, governments offer inducements that often include export processing zones (EPZ) with no-strike policies, cheap but highly- skilled labor, and tax holidays. In return, the host governments expect the TNCs to create employment opportunities, and through their investments, to boost the domestic economy.

Women are the major resources for the cheap but skilled labor force that are found in the EPZs. For example, in the Philippines, women compose more than 80 percent of workers involved in export industrialization, and have formed the backbone of the country's economy (Chant 1996; Chant and Mcllwaine 1995;Hutchinson 1992). Fuentes and Ehrenreich contend that due to both biological and social reasons, women have been heavily recruited to do the labor-intensive jobs found on global assembly lines (1983). Boserup (1970) and others (Beneria and Sen 1981; Buvinic 1976; Ward 1988) contend that economic development strategies, especially those concerned with industrial development, more often led to further marginalization of women's status. Studies on women in global assembly lines indicate that women's work experiences, especially the way they are treated in these factories, have profound effects on their perception of their status (Chant and Mcllwaine 1995;Nash andFernandez-Kelly1983; Ong 1987;Poster 1998; Tiano 1994; Ward1990; Wolf 1992).

This study addresses two questions on women engaged in TNC global assembly line work.' First, what type of labor-management policies are found on global assembly lines in the Philippines? Second, how have these labor managerial policies and practices affected Filipino women workers on the global assembly line? Beyond these questions, the paper also explores the implications of these work experiences on rural women's social position in the Philippines. If global assembly-line work emerges as the most dominant form of industrial work for rural women, would it lead to the enhancement or further marginalization of women workers' status?

This research is based on a case study using in-depth interviews with Filipino women workers in a Japanese automotive, wiring-harness, assembly plant. The date provides insights on how work is engendered on the global assembly lines. It helps us understand the workplace dynamics that underlie the experiences women workers have reported in earlier research (see Chant and Mcllwaine 1995; Eviota 1992; Fuentes and Ehrenreich 1983; Grossman 1980; Ong 1987).This study also offers insights into how national development policies are transformed at the local level into labor- management policies which directly affect women's work experiences.

I argue that the working conditions in the local factories are a product of the interplay between the local culture's gender ideology and the work cultures' gender ideology. The detailed information presented here on how Japanese labor-management systems are transferred and adopted into Southeast Asian global assembly lines broadens our understanding, not only of the degree and form of transference of Japanese labor managerial practices; it also delineates the unique ways in which gender is manipulated in the work place. In global assembly lines not only are investments and technology transferred from the mother corporation to the off-shore production factories, but systems of gendered labor-management are transplanted as well.

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Globalization, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Japan, Philippines

Year: 2001

‘‘Women Home and Away’’: Transnational Managerial Work and Gender Relations


Hearn, Jeff, Marjut Jyrkinen, Rebecca Piekkari, and Eeva Oinonen. 2008. “‘Women Home and Away’: Transnational Managerial Work and Gender Relations.” Journal of Business Ethics 83 (1): 41–54.

Authors: Jeff Hearn, Marjut Jyrkinen, Rebecca Piekkari, Eeva Oinonen


This article addresses the intersections, even blurrings, of two “homes” and two “aways” – the personal, 'private’ home and the corporate 'public’ 'away’, and the national home country and corporate base and the transnational work away. Drawing on 40 semi-structured interviews with women and men top and middle managers in seven multinational corporations located in Finland, we examine the complex relations among transnational managerial work, corporate careers and personal, marriage and family-type relations, and their differences for women and men managers. This shows the very different personal and social worlds inhabited by senior women and men managers, and how transnational processes can make those differences even greater.

Keywords: family, Finland, Gender, home, management, managers, men, transnational, transnationalization, women




Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Finland

Year: 2008

The ‘Girl Effect’ and martial arts: social entrepreneurship and sport, gender and development in Uganda


Hayhurst, Lyndsay M. C. 2014. “The 'Girl Effect’ and Martial Arts: Social Entrepreneurship and Sport, Gender and Development in Uganda.” Gender, Place and Culture 21 (3): 297–315.

Author: Lyndsay M. C. Hayhurst


In recent years, three notable trends have emerged in the gender and development landscape: the increasing use of sport as a tool to achieve gender and development objectives (SGD); the expanding involvement of transnational corporations (TNCs) in creating, funding and implementing development programs; and the girling' of development. The last trend has largely been facilitated by the proliferation of the global Girl Effect' campaign, or the unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world' (Girl Effect 2011). This article reports on findings from a global ethnography - involving semi-structured interviews, participant observation and document analysis - that considered how sport-oriented Girl Effect interventions impact the lives of girls they target. Using a Girl Effect-focused partnership among a TNC (based in Western Europe), an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) (based in Western Europe) and a Southern NGO (based in Uganda) as a case study, this article examines how SGD programs for Ugandan girls encourage them to become entrepreneurs of themselves' (Rose 1999) equipped to survive in the current global neoliberal climate using social entrepreneurial tactics such as training to be martial arts instructors combined with activities such as cultivating nuts. Results show how Girl Effect-oriented SGD programs that focus on social entrepreneurship tend to overlook the broader structural inequalities and gender relations that marginalize girls in the first place. I conclude by suggesting that future studies must further explore the socio-economic, cultural and political implications and consequences that social entrepreneurship and economic forms' of SGD interventions hold for girls.

Keywords: social entrepreneurship, sport for development, gender and development, neoliberalism, Girl Effect




Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Multi-National Corporations, NGOs Regions: Africa, East Africa, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Uganda

Year: 2014

Corporatising Sport, Gender and Development: postcolonial IR feminisms, transnational private governance and global corporate social engagement


Hayhurst, Lyndsay. 2011. “Corporatising Sport, Gender and Development: Postcolonial IR Feminisms, Transnational Private Governance and Global Corporate Social Engagement.” Third World Quarterly 32 (3): 531–49.

Author: Lyndsay Hayhurst


The ‘Girl Effect’ is a growing but understudied movement that assumes girls are catalysts capable of bringing social and economic change for their families, communities and countries. The evolving discourse associated with this movement holds profound implications for development programmes that focus on girls and use sport and physical activity to promote gender equality, challenge gender norms, and teach confidence and leadership skills. Increasingly sport, gender and development (SGD) interventions are funded and implemented by multinational corporations (MNCs) as part of the mounting portfolio of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in international development. Drawing on postcolonial feminist IR theory and recent literature on transnational private governance, this article considers how an MNC headquartered in the global North that funds a SGD programme informed by the ‘Girl Eeffect’ movement in the Two-Thirds World is implicated in the postcolonial contexts in which it operates. Qualitative research methods were used, including interviews with MNC CSR staff members. The findings reveal three themes that speak to the colonial residue within corporate-funded SGD interventions: the power of brand authority; the importance of ‘authentic’ subaltern stories; and the politics of the ‘global’ sisterhood enmeshed in saving ‘distant’ others. The implications of these findings for SGD are discussed in terms of postcolonial feminist approaches to studying sport for development and peace more broadly.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Feminisms, Gender, Girls, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Multi-National Corporations

Year: 2011

YEARNING FOR LIGHTNESS: Transnational Circuits in the Marketing and Consumption of Skin Lighteners


Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. 2008. “Yearning for Lightness: Transnational Circuits in the Marketing and Consumption of Skin Lighteners.” Gender and Society 22 (3): 281–302.

Author: Evelyn Nakano Glenn


With the breakdown of traditional racial boundaries in many areas of the world, the widespread and growing consumption of skin-lightening products testifies to the increasing significance of colorism—social hierarchy based on gradations of skin tone within and between racial/ethnic groups. Light skin operates as a form of symbolic capital, one that is especially critical for women because of the connection between skin tone and attractiveness and desirability. Far from being an outmoded practice or legacy of past colonialism, the use of skin lighteners is growing fastest among young, urban, educated women in the global South. Although global in scope, the skin-lightening market is highly segmented by nation, culture, race, and class. This article examines the "yearning for lightness" and skin-lightening practices in various societies and communities and the role of transnational pharmaceutical and cosmetic corporations in fueling the desire for lighter skin through print, Internet, and television ads that link light skin with modernity, social mobility, and youth.

Keywords: colorism, beauty, skin bleaching, globalism, discrimination

Topics: Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Globalization, Multi-National Corporations, Nationalism, Race

Year: 2008

Workers’ rights and corporate accountability – the move towards practical, worker-driven change for sportswear workers in Indonesia


Gardener, Daisy. 2012. “Workers’ Rights and Corporate Accountability — the Move Towards Practical, Worker-Driven Change for Sportswear Workers in Indonesia.” Gender and Development 20 (1): 49–65.

Author: Daisy Gardener


Women workers across Asia and throughout the world continue to face long hours, low wages and discrimination when they try to organise into unions within garment and footwear factories. Millions of young women are making products for companies Nike and Adidas. Over the past decade, under considerable public pressure, these companies have developed standards on workers conditions for their supplier factories. Despite this, there is still a considerable gap between sportswear companies’ policies and the actual conditions inside factories. This article explores a process in Indonesia from 2009 to 2011 which brought together Indonesian factories, international sportswear brands and Indonesian unions to develop a protocol in an attempt ensure that workers’ human rights are upheld inside factories. Women union leaders were instrumental in the development of this protocol and will be integral to the implementation of these new guidelines.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Multi-National Corporations, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2012


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