Globalisation and Inclusive Development; a Gendered Perspective from an Interdisciplinary approach

Graffiti op muur, vrouw met kleurrijk kapsel in afbeelding

Globalisation and Inclusive Development is part of the Development and equity theme of the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges.

Given that the impact of globalisation on inequality is substantial, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the differential impact of globalisation on men and women. This is unfortunate, since evidence from various disciplines shows that the globalisation process has coincided with changes in the position of women, both positive and negative. For one, globalisation causes specific patterns of development and specialisation. For instance, economic history has shown that the rise of export industries such as textiles and cash crop agriculture in some countries led to new employment opportunities for women. Political scientists show that as a result of international movements, women’s rights have found their way firmly onto the development agenda. 

Vrouw in Azië met mand op haar hoofd

However, there might also be negative consequences of globalisation for women. Scholars in the field of gender studies highlight that when confronted with external pressure by the international development community, some regions push back against increasing women's rights. Similarly, international organizations such as the ILO show that increased labour market opportunities do not always improve labour conditions for women in many developing countries. Human trafficking is perhaps one of the most unsavoury aspects of an increasingly inter-connected world which disproportionately affects women and children.

Overall, we lack precise knowledge on the impact of globalisation on the position of women. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of collaboration between different disciplines that would provide insight 
into the facets of gender equality that are affected as well as the context in which gender differences emerge and persist. Only an interdisciplinary understanding of the conditions that determine the position of women will allow us to develop fully informed policies that address the inequalities globalisation.

Activities in 2018


A two-day workshop (date TBA) where we will:

  • Bring together UU researchers from disciplines mentioned above, stakeholders, and international experts.
  • Present our research agendas centered around concrete papers or research notes and how these touch upon the issues that the network will address.
  • Discuss how best to turn the findings of our research into educational material.