Gender and the Making of Global Markets: An Exploration of the Agricultural Sector

  • Elisabeth Prügl


The globalization of markets in the late twentieth century has entailed a significant restructuring of gender relations. Women have become workers in export-oriented manufacturing, they have moved into the informal sector and home-based work, and they have left farms and homes to work as maids, nannies, and in the global sex industry. In the agricultural sector, as in industry, restructuring in many places has furthermore entailed a feminization of labour.1 The outcomes for women’s status have been ambiguous: scholars have described highly exploitative situations, but sometimes also more gender equality (see Beneria 2003: 83, 120–129). New opportunities to participate in markets have affected women, as has the gendered structure of these markets. While it is clear that there is a relationship between the globalization of markets and gender relations, it is less clear how this relationship operates. What are the mechanisms by which the globalization of markets (the construction of a seemingly unitary space of economic exchange) has affected gender relations (typically imagined as embedded in local cultural and historical contexts)?


Gender Identity Global Market Family Farm Global Governance Direct Payment 
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© Elisabeth Prügl 2008

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  • Elisabeth Prügl

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