Bringing Commodity Chain Analysis Back to Its World-Systems Roots: Rediscovering Women’s Work and Households

  • Wilma A. Dunaway Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Keywords: Reproductive labor, scientific gender-bias, feminist methods, household economies, non-waged labor

Abstract

Globally between 1980 and 2000, women's economic activity rate expanded, narrowing the gender gap in labor force participation. Thus, females now account for one-third or more of the "officially-counted" personnel of export industries (UNICEF 2007), and export agriculture is now feminized (Deere 2005). Today women account for one-third of the manufacturing labor force in developing countries, and females hold more than one-half of the industrial jobs in Asia (Barrientos, Kabeer and Hossain 2004). In much of the global South, females account for a majority of the waged labor force in export agriculture, and they are more heavily concentrated than men in service jobs that provision the supply chains of global production. As a reflection of fewer opportunities for males, women are now less likely to withdraw from the labor force during their childbearing years. In addition, females account for a majority of the income earners in the informal sectors of a majority of global South countries, generate a significant proportion of global commodities through subcontracted work they complete in their households, and provide most of the unpaid family labor needed to support household-based farms and businesses that are dominated by males (United Nations 2003).
Published
2014-03-01
How to Cite
Dunaway, W. A. (2014). Bringing Commodity Chain Analysis Back to Its World-Systems Roots: Rediscovering Women’s Work and Households. Journal of World-Systems Research, 20(1), 64-81. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2014.576
Section
The Politcal Economy of Commodity Chains