Multi-National Corporations

Impact of International Trade and Multinational Corporations on the Environment and Sustainable Livelihoods


Hassan, Comfort, Janice Olawoye, and Kent Nnadozie. 2002. Impact of International Trade and Multinational Corporations on the Environment and Sustainable Livelihoods of Rural Women in Akwa-Ibom State, Niger Delta Region. Oyo State, Nigeria: Gender and Economic Reform for Africa (GERA) and Nigeria Environmental Study/Action Team (NEST).

Authors: Comfort Hassan, Janice Olawoye, Kent Nnadozie



This report presents the findings of a study on the impact of international trade and multi-national corporations activities on the environment and sustainable livelihoods of rural women in some Ibeno communities and Ikot Ataku community both in Akwa–Ibom State of Southern Nigeria. The basic proposition underlying this study is that the economic policies that governments promote in the context of economic globalization have transformed in a negative way, productive individuals into mass consumers, tended to homogenize diverse cultural traditions, and destroyed wilderness and biodiversity all in the name of growth and efficiency. Economic growth in many ways has resulted in local dislocation and contributed to both local and global environment degradation. There is a conclusion also that the laws and regulations aimed at liberalizing trade and industry have not taken into consideration the concerns of the local population, in terms of the impact of these new approaches upon the ways and patterns the people have survived over time, including the array of activities they get engaged in. In the circumstances, global trade does not take into account or respond to the needs of rural people especially with regard to natural resource use, yet it is these resources that constitute a major plank of the livelihoods of rural dwellers. (3-4)

Topics: Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Globalization, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2002

Multinational Corporate Investment and Women’s Participation in Higher Education in Noncore Nations


Clark, Roger. 1992. “Multinational Corporate Investment and Women’s Participation in Higher Education in Noncore Nations.” Sociology of Education 65 (1): 37-47.

Author: Roger Clark


This article posits a theoretical connection between multinational corporate (MNC) investment and women's participation in higher education in noncore nations. It suggests that because MNC investment encourages a "breed-and-feed" ideology for women, the prejudicial hiring of men in high-status occupations, and the lack of state regulation of gender discrimination, its presence skews the demand for higher education away from women. Panel regression analyses of data from 66 noncore and 44 peripheral nations indicate considerable support for this position.

Topics: Education, Gender, Women, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies

Year: 1992

The New Enclosures: Critical Perspectives on Corporate Land Deals


White, Ben, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones, and Wendy Wolford. 2012. “The New Enclosures: Critical Perspectives on Corporate Land Deals.” Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (3-4): 619–47. doi:10.1080/03066150.2012.691879.

Authors: Ben White, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones, Wendy Wolford


The contributions to this collection use the tools of agrarian political economy to explore the rapid growth and complex dynamics of large-scale land deals in recent years, with a special focus on the implications of big land deals for property and labour regimes, labour processes and structures of accumulation. The first part of this introductory essay examines the implications of this agrarian political economy perspective. First we explore the continuities and contrasts between historical and contemporary land grabs, before examining the core underlying debate around large- versus small-scale farming futures. Next, we unpack the diverse contexts and causes of land grabbing today, highlighting six overlapping mechanisms. The following section turns to assessing the crisis narratives that frame the justifications for land deals, and the flaws in the argument around there being excess, empty or idle land available. Next the paper turns to an examination of the impacts of land deals, and the processes of inclusion and exclusion at play, before looking at patterns of resistance and constructions of alternatives. The final section introduces the papers in the collection.

Keywords: land, land grab, enclosure, political economy

Topics: Economies, Gender, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies

Year: 2012

Coercive Harmony in Land Acquisition: The Gendered Impact of Corporate ‘Responsibility’ in the Brazilian Amazon


Miyasaka Porro, Noemi, and Joaquim Shiraishi Neto. 2014. “Coercive Harmony in Land Acquisition: The Gendered Impact of Corporate ‘Responsibility’ in the Brazilian Amazon.” Feminist Economics 20 (1): 227–48. 

Authors: Noemi Miyasaka Porro, Joaquim Shiraishi Neto


In rural development, women’s access to land is recognized as a condition for reaching gender equality. This contribution discusses the tension between this formal recognition and concrete realities in rural development for traditional Amazonian communities by examining large-scale land acquisitions in Brazil, a land-abundant developing country, in the wake of the 2007–08 global food price crises. This study applies anthropological and legal perspectives to analyze problems related to gender inequality caused by large-scale land acquisitions. It argues that inequalities cannot be resolved by simply changing regulations related to traditional communities’ and women’s rights and that gender relations and land tenure issues reflect interconnected social arrangements based on historical specificities of traditional communities. Case studies show that land acquisitions by outsiders disrupt these arrangements, despite stated commitments to social and environmental responsibility. Such “coercive harmony” is only unmasked when communities are conscious of their rights, enabling effective use of the legal apparatus.

Keywords: Gender, food security, land, development, Amazon

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Land Grabbing, Multi-National Corporations, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Food Security Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil

Year: 2014

Overt Employment Discrimination in MNC Affiliates: Home-country Cultural and Institutional Effects


Wu, C., J. J. Lawler and X. Yi. 2008. “Overt Employment Discrimination in MNC Affiliates: Home-country Cultural and Institutional Effects.” Journal of International Business Studies 39 (5): 772-794.

Authors: C. Wu, J. J. Lawler, X. Yi


Using job announcements posted by MNC subsidiaries in Taiwan and Thailand, we investigated the effects of MNC home-country cultural and institutional forces on the use of employment gender and age discriminatory criteria in host countries where anti-discrimination legislation was absent. We examined the cultural effects with composite measures taken from the work of Hofstede and Schwartz. The effects of the existence of anti-age and anti-gender discrimination employment legislation in an MNC home country were also assessed to control for institutional factors. Logit analysis shows that MNC home-country culture and institutional environment can have a strong impact on the use of discriminatory criteria by MNCs in host countries, at least those lacking protective legislation. Specifically, MNCs based in countries that have existing and effective age and gender discrimination laws, and have more individualist and less masculine cultures, are less likely to engage in at least overt gender-based and age-based discrimination.
Keywords: MNC; employment discrimination; age; gender; national culture; institutional forces


Analyzed recruitment ads in Thailand and Taiwan (no regulations in either country at the time of the study), overt gender and age discrimination; Asian-Pacific, North American and European-based companies

Existence of a home-country cultural impact on the likelihood of these types of discrimination by MNC subsidiaries even after controlling for key home-country institutional influences

Topics: Age, Economies, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Globalization, Governance, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Taiwan, Thailand

Year: 2008

Sexual Violence, Coltan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Whitman, Shelly. 2010. “Sexual Violence, Coltan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” In Critical Environmental Security: Rethinking the Links between Natural Resources and Political Violence, edited by Schnurr, Matthew A., and Larry A. Swatuk, 1–17. Halifax, NS, Canada: Dalhousie University Centre for Foreign Policy Studies.

Author: Shelly Whitman


 “There is a local Kiswahili saying that says “Congo is a big country – you will eat it until you tire away!” This is precisely what many armed groups, neighbouring countries, Western states and multinational companies have done over the past 100 years to the DRC. The raping of the country’s natural resources has coincided with the increased sexual violence endured by the women of the country. I will contend that it is not the abundance or scarcity of resources per se that determines conflict and violence, but the way they are governed, who has access to them and for what purposes they are used.

The DRC is an example of the new issues that face environmental security analysts. Environmental security must take account of the human security elements that challenge our understandings of the connection among the environment, resource extraction and conflict. How are civilians targeted deliberately in this quest for natural resources that often underpins and drives the conflicts that currently exist? Failure to see the connections has resulted in a failure adequately to seek peaceful and meaningful long-term solutions to conflicts such as those occurring in the DRC.” (Whitman, 2010, p. 2).

 “How are civilians targeted deliberately in this quest for natural resources that often underpins and drives the conflicts that currently exist?” (p. 2).

“While the various foreign (and domestic) armies that have been involved in the DRC claim security as the main justification for their presence, all have been accused of the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the DRC” (p. 5).

Price of coltan before PlayStation 2 and laptops used it: $30/lb; after: $380 (p. 10)

Led to coltan rush in eastern DRC; violence increases when speculation surges

Survey: companies feel they can’t do anything else, pass the buck to suppliers and the Congolese government (p. 12).

Ban on extraction and sale won’t solve anything—regulation and protection so it can be used for good, accountability for both extraction and sexual violence (p. 13).


Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Governance, Multi-National Corporations, Peacebuilding, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2010

From Aba to Ugborodo: Gender Identity and Alternative Discourse of Social Protest among Women in the Oil Delta of Nigeria


Ukeje, Charles. 2004. “From Aba to Ugborodo: Gender Identity and Alternative Discourse of Social Protest among Women in the Oil Delta of Nigeria.” Oxford Development Studies 32 (4): 605-17. 

Author: Charles Ukeje


From the outset of the 1990s, the Niger Delta became a hotbed of communal rivalries and violent protests by deprived oil communities against the alliance of the Nigerian State and multinational oil companies. Community grievances mostly revolved around issues such as ecological degradation, unemployment and dearth of basic social amenities. In 2002 a wave of protests by women from different ethnic groups led to the occupation of major oil platforms. This paper contextualizes the separate protests against the background of crude oil-induced violent conflicts in the Niger Delta. It explores the various dimensions of the revolts, drawing on historical antecedents of gender-specific social actions in Nigeria. Finally, it examines how the protests and occupation of oil platforms by women challenge orthodox wisdom about the autonomous agency of women in stimulating alternative social and political discourses and actions.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Economies, Environment, Ethnicity, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies, Political Participation, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2004

Women’s Uprising against the Nigerian Oil Industry in the 1980s


Turner, Terisa E., and M. O. Oshare. 1993. “Women’s Uprising against the Nigerian Oil Industry in the 1980s.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 14 (3): 329–57. 

Authors: Terisa E. Turner, M. O. Oshare


In the 1980s women attacked oil industry installations and personnel throughout Nigeria. This article considers two revolts: the 1984 Ogharefe women's uprising and the 1986 Ekpan women 's uprising. In the oil centre of Warri where both took place, women do most of the peasant farming but land is controlled by men. The study argues that oil-based industrialization superimposed on this local political economy a new regime which dispossessed women of access to farm land. Women responded by attacking the oil industry with varying degrees of success. The different levels of success are explained by reference to class formation and gender relations in the uprisings themselves. The study concludes by noting the prominent place of women 's initiatives linked to gender solidarity in the success of the exploited classes in struggles with big business and the state.


  • The paper argues three things: “1) the uprisings were clashes resulting from class formation spurred by oil based capitalist development; 2) the gender character of the uprisings, the fact that they involved particular class factions of women against specific class factions of men, followed from changes in gender relations that took place in the process of capitalist development; and 3) the degree of success enjoyed by women in their struggles reflects both the extent to which peasant relations persisted or were eroded by proletarianization, and the degree to which men acted in solidarity with women.” (330-31)


“In Nigeria not only did capitalism break up women’s social order but it also created the conditions for resistance. The uprisings are products of capitalist development just as much as is women’s marginalization… support for the objectives of the uprisings, and the organizations and alliances that facilitated them, would contribute to the empowerment of women and of all exploited people. In short, it is suggested that it is through uprisings and the successful consolidation of the social power marshaled through them that women can be empowered” (332)

“The change in gender relations which aids capital in harnessing women to household production of labour is the institution of men as the disciplinarians over women’s work. Men in the state, capitalist men themselves, but most significantly proletarian men are encouraged to define themselves as men with reference to their control over women… resistance by women to this type of capitalist exploitation takes many forms including struggles for better work conditions (electricity, water, schools), the fight for control over fertility… and efforts to get or keep means of survival independent of men” (333)

“The thesis in this study is that capitalist development promotes such a gender realignment and hence the basis for both the transcendence of capitalist relations and the creation of an egalitarian society free from gender exploitation as a condition of freedom from class exploitation. The women’s uprisings of the 1980s against oil companies in Nigeria reveal, if only in faint outline, these patterns and this direction of movement.” (335)

“The state sector expanded dramatically as oil wealth financed infrastructure and some industrialization. Imported fish, chicken, wheat, cloth and other consumer goods undermined indigenous production. This rapid extension of market relations throughout Nigeria encroached on women’s spheres of economic and social power. Land alienation, pollution and the disturbance of fishing grounds, the absence of men who answered the call of the construction boom, labour shortages and high cost of labour, lack of credit and the need for cash… were factors which contribute to most women’s heightened insecurity and marginalization.” (337)

“The women challenged compensation policy and the very concept of compensation for land taken by the state for the oil industry. How, they asked can a way of life be destroyed and ‘compensated’ through the payment of a small sum of money? The women objected to lack of amenities, comparing the privileged western style housing across the fence to their own poverty… They raised the fundamental issue of who benefits from the oil wealth. This tremendous national treasure from their own communal lands was being used to benefit others and in the process their own lives were being destroyed.” (350)

“The women’s uprisings against the oil industry in Nigeria in the mid 1980s confirm the double complexity of capitalism’s denigration and empowerment of women. On the one hand, the extension of exploitation worsened the situations of women. Earlier relative reciprocity between men and women dissipated into intensified sexism… On the other hand, industrialization led to land alienation, which motivated women’s fight back. It elevated women’s political impact by offering them vulnerable oil industry targets against which to concentrate their collective social power.” (354-55)

Topics: Class, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 1993

Why Women Are at War with Chevron: Nigerian Subsistence Struggles Against the International Oil Industry


Turner, Terisa E., and Leigh S. Brownhill. 2004. “Why Women Are at War with Chevron: Nigerian Subsistence Struggles Against the International Oil Industry.” Journal of Asian and African Studies 39 (1-2): 63–93. doi:10.1177/0021909604048251.

Authors: Terisa E. Turner, Leigh S. Brownhill


This study is an inquiry into why women were at war with oil companies in Nigeria and how they internationalized their struggle. Employing the Midnight Notes Collective’s concept of “the new enclosures”; Shiva, Mies, and Bennholdt-Thomsen’s “subsistence perspective”; and McMurtry’s concept of the “civil commons,” the study elaborates a “gendered class analysis” to consider the social anatomy of coordinated global actions by producers and consumers of oil. Part one examines the period from July 2002 to February 2003. Nigerian women occupied oil terminals and flow stations and inspired global protests against war and oil companies. Part two considers widespread Nigerian workers’ strikes in the period from February 2003 to July 2003. These included work stoppages in transport, the oil industry, and the public service; a two-week seizure by oil workers of four Trans-ocean deep-sea platforms and an eight-day general strike against increases in the price of petroleum products. Part three analyzes the July–September 2003 period. From 10 July 2003 peasant women occupied oil facilities throughout the Delta. As official government neared collapse, village and clan-based organizations assumed much of the responsibility for the oversight of their own communities. By September 2003, insurgents shut down some 40 percent of Nigerian crude oil production capacity. Villagers denied oil companies all physical access to the western Delta. Chevron/Texaco, Shell, other majors and their contractors evacuated their Warri headquarters. The autonomous village organizations, linked to each other through regional solidarity networks, coordinated pan-Delta defense against Nigerian and U.S. military counterinsurgency. The study concludes with an analysis of the roots of insurgent power and direct deals in oil.

Keywords: international oil industry, Nigeria, subsistence, women


“Women are at the forefront of social movements because, despite their being largely unwaged, capital exploits them as it commodifies and uses up “free” nature, social services, built space, and the production of paid and unpaid work.” (Turner and Brownhill, 2004, p. 64)
 “In 2002 women who are responsible for much of the farming, fishing, feeding and life sustenance stood up against corporate destruction.” (p. 64)
“A much more fertile form of anti-imperial, transformational ‘globalization from below’…provoked women outside of Nigeria to defend subsistence as life-affirmation in the context of global anti-war mobilization” (p. 65)
“The international oil companies bring two (among several) groups of people – those resident on oil reserves and those who consume oil – into one organization (i.e. the organization of the oil corporations themselves and the oil market that they define). Because the oil companies bring these two groups into one global organization; the groups, by acting together, have the power to destroy the corporations by simultaneously denying them crude oil and product purchases.” (p. 65)
“In much of Africa, women throw off their clothes in an ultimate protest to say ‘this is where life comes from. I hereby revoke your life.’ Nakedness by elderly women, in particular, is used in extreme and life-threatening situations. Women wielding the weapon of the exposed vagina could be killed or raped. It is with the knowledge of the act’s life and death implications that women enter into such protest. Women who go naked implicitly state that they will get their demands met or die in the process of trying. Many men subjected to this “social execution” believe they will actually die when exposed to such a serious threat.” (p. 71)


Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Class, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Globalization, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2004

Multinational Firms, Labor Market Discrimination, and the Capture of Competitive Advantage by Exploiting the Social Divide


Siegel, Jordan, Lynn Pyun, and B. Y. Cheun. 2011. Multinational Firms, Labor Market Discrimination, and the Capture of Competitive Advantage by Exploiting the Social Divide. Working Paper 11-011, Harvard Business School, Cambridge, MA. 

Authors: Jordan Siegel, Lynn Pyun, B. Y. Cheun


The organizational theory of the multinational firm holds that foreignness is a liability, and specifically that lack of embeddedness in host-country social networks is a source of competitive disadvantage; meanwhile the literature on labor market discrimination suggests that exploiting the bigotry of others can be a source of competitive advantage. We seek to turn the former literature somewhat on its head by building on insights from the latter. Specifically, we argue that multinationals wield a particularly significant competitive weapon: as outsiders, they can identify social schisms in host labor markets and exploit them for their own competitive advantage. Using two unique data sets from South Korea, we show that in the 2000s multinationals have derived significant advantage in the form of improved profitability by aggressively hiring an excluded group, women, in the local managerial labor market. Our results are economically meaningful, realistic in size and robust to the inclusion of firm fixed effects. Multinationals, even those whose home markets discriminate against women, often show signs of having seen the strategic opportunity. Though the host market is moving toward a new equilibrium freer of discrimination, that movement is relatively slow, presenting a multi-year competitive opportunity for multinationals.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations

Year: 2011


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