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Advocacy For Women's Rights Against The Background Of Globalization


In 1962,'globalization' first appeared in people's vocabulary, and now it has gone from being a technical term, to being the colloquial expression it is today. However, the Economist magazine has labeled it as "the most widely misused word in the 21st century". So, what exactly is it that globalization means? What opportunities and challenges does it bring to global advocacy for gender equality? This article will introduce the main issues relating to women's development and rights advocacy against the background of globalization.
In the last few decades, the enormous power of globalization has established democracy, the spread of cultures, armed clashes, militarization, terrorism and the ever growing economic gap between regions and countries, as symbols of economic reconstruction and the new world order. Globalization refers to the complex processes of expansion and melding together of economies, societies, cultures and politics on a global scale. It means that capital, manufacturing, finance, trade, ideologies, imagery, people and organizations are able to flow across the borders of regions, countries and cultures. This term includes an ever-changing and ever-strengthening global consciousness, a system of mutual interdependence, interactive and socially transformative networks, as well as the profound influences they bring. In the face of the ever-quickening progress of globalization, some gender scholars and advocates for women's human rights are also calling for attention to be paid to the influences of globalization on gender issues. Moreover, they are making good use of the convenience information and communications technologies brought by globalization, and are developing more effective advocacy activities, both in their own regions and globally. This article will focus mainly on the advocacy topics and strategies of the group - 'Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era' (DAWN) - on the issues of gender equality and economic justice under globalization.
DAWN advocates an interlinkages analysis approach. Their analysis framework consists of four main parts, namely: Political Economy of Globalization/Trade; Political Ecology and Sustainable Livelihood, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and Political Restructuring and Social Transformation. This method of analysis reveals the challenges faced by gender equality and women's rights under the new circumstances of globalization, the contradictions and shortcomings of the rights based approach, as well as showing us new opportunities and directions.
There exist United Nations international human rights standards and conventions (from the Declaration of Human Rights to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the International Labor Organization Convention) and commitments (from the Beijing Program of Action to the Millennium Development Goals). How can these treaties and commitments be implemented? Does adopting this type of accountability system guarantee that they'll be put into effect? This remains a challenge.
People have already realized that in order to eliminate poverty, we need to change policies on the macro scale. However, how do we solve structural inequalities? How do we guarantee equality and fairness in financial budgets and macro economic policies? This remains to be accomplished.
Policy makers have realized that social development and gender equality need to be integrated into policy. However, there is a lack of domestic and international mechanisms to ensure and supervise policy implementation, and to make sure it conforms to human rights standards.
Some countries and governments have already made clear and firm political commitments to improving women's economic and social rights. However, against the background of economic globalization and privatization, there is no clear answer to the question of how governments can achieve this.
People have already realized that the continuous expansion of market forces has brought with it a series of social problems, however people still continue to hope that the development and perfection of market mechanisms will provide a solution. There is emphasis on collaboration with private corporations, however it is very seldom that private corporations are regulated, especially in the case of transnational corporations. There are commitments to people-centered development, but it is assumed that economic growth will benefit the poor through a trickle down effect, and that this type of development is sustainable. There are commitments to achieve full employment, but the means adopted are the liberalization of trade and investment. The role of government is limited to providing human resources and services to business. The importance of gender equality in development is acknowledged, but the trend is to merely add women into the pre-existing economic and political analysis models which are innately prejudiced towards men. For example, it is believed that males are the main breadwinners, but the problem of women's dual burden of production and reproduction has not been resolved.


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