Women, Globalization and Poverty (United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women ,1999)
If globalization limits the states ability to provide social protection, this poses a major challenge to poverty eradication programs and the efforts to respond to the needs of the less visible segments of the population especially women and children, in responding to their right to basic services and development of their capabilities.
The shock of market fluctuations and immediate impact of integration into global markets with intensifying effects on poverty, are also absorbed by poor women by working harder both inside and outside the household. In many instances, women combine home making and piece working with reproductive activities in the household and rely more extensively on the use of children’s labour for domestic work, households production and cash earnings.
The adjustment costs associated with economic restructuring in many countries have increased the economic hardship for the poor. The human damage caused by economic deprivation is greatest for those who are least prepared i.e. poor women.
The vulnerability to poverty of women is strongly linked to their pattern of employment and to their disadvantaged position in the labour market. Women workers in developing countries are concentrated in jobs, which bring low earnings, are irregular and insecure and are beyond the effective reach of labour and social protection laws. Three main factors channel women into low-income, low- productivity and often casual employment.
Women’s reproductive and domestic responsibilities are generally perceived o be their primary function, which limits women’s access to education, training, land and productive assets, restricts women’s time and mobility for productive work and limits their choice of income-earning activities.
Women are perceived to be merely secondary earners so that often men have priority over women in the allocation of opportunities for remunerated employment.
Women face unequal access to productive resources and services although they are largely dependent on self-employment for which land, capital, technology and labour are critical
Globalization can also lead to increased exploitation in the market for females as they are vulnerable to market conditions, in particular in the informal sector.

More Resources

Lokshin, Michael and Thomas A. Mroz(2003) "Gender and Poverty: A Life Cycle Approach to the Analysis of the Differences in Gender Outcomes" (Washington, DC: World Bank)

World Bank (2001) World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty (Washington, DC: World Bank)
International Forum on Globalization. Does Globalization Help the Poor? A Special Report. (California: International Forum on Globalization)
Nassar, Heba (1998) Conditions of Poor Women in Egypt: Women's Vulnerability (Cairo: Research Papers Series, UNDP and INP).

Effect on the spread of poverty and social exclusion

Globalization affects poverty through its impact on a number of factors: labour earnings, prices of basic commodities and services, and on the scope and intensity of the social safety net provided to low-income people
(Abdel-Khalek, G. and Karima Korayem.1999)

Reducing subsidies on agricultural products:

The reduction of the subsidies of agricultural products will raise prices of these products in international markets, while the reduction of tariffs will open the markets of the developed countries for the agricultural products produced in the developing ones.

Reducing the subsidy on agricultural products will raise the cost of living for the consumers, especially hitting the poor and the low-income citizens, since they spend a larger proportion of their budget on food.
In the exporting countries, the impact will be a rise in the cost of living of the urban consumers, especially the poor, while for the rural consumers, specifically the farmers, the net impact is the result of the gain from the rise in agricultural prices as producers, and the loss as consumers
The impact of the rise in agricultural prices on the importing countries is negative due to the increase in the cost of living for both urban and rural consumers.
Also the protection for inventions may promote monopoly and
raise the cost of basic goods, which will hurt the poor population in developing countries, as the majority of patents are located in the advanced economies, such as drug, and high-tech commodities.
In spite of the GATT ban on export restrictions has favorable impact on consumers everywhere, it will have an unfavorable impact on the exporting countries, because it forces a deterioration in their terms of trade, which will affect their ability to pay for their imports, repay debts and invest their earnings in domestic development projects.

Social Safety nets and the poor

Globalization also might have negative effects on the social safety nets that protect the poor. The reduction in government revenues reduces government’ s ability to spend on social services and to provide the necessary funding to cover the cost of the social safety net (Abdel-Khalek, G. and Karima Korayem.1999)
  Finally trade liberalization may induce income transfers as any reduction in tariff revenues may affect social groups differently depending on the changes in the composition of government expenditure
  Trade liberalization will lead to lower prices in domestic markets since goods produced more cheaply in other countries are imported at lower prices than goods produced locally benefiting consumers. While middle- and upper-income consumers may benefit from the new market for imported goods, poor households are relatively in worse position, in the case of deterioration in handicraft and traditional industries (Fontana, M.1998)

More Resources


O'Brien, David, Joanna Wilkes, Arjan de Haan and Simon Maxwell (1999) "Poverty and Social Exclusion in North and South" (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

  O'Brien, David and Arjan de Haan(1997) Deprivation in the North and The South: An Annotated Bibliography on Poverty and Social Exclusion (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Bannister, Geoffrey & Thugge, Kamau(2001) "International Trade and Poverty Alleviation" (Washington D.C.: IMF)


International Forum on Globalization. Does Globalization Help the Poor? A Special Report. (California: International Forum on Globalization)


Kanji, Nazneen and Stephanie Barrientos (2002) "Trade Liberalization, Poverty and Livelihoods: Understanding the Linkages" (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex)

  Reimer, Jeffrey J.(2002) Estimating the Poverty Impacts of Trade Liberalization (New York: World Bank)