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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Globalization and its Impact on Women in Asia and Africa: Problems and Potentials

Dr. Purnima Mehta Bhatt.

This paper employs a gendered approach to globalization and explores the effect of globalization on women’s lives and experiences in Asia and Africa.
My analysis is predicated on the premise that the benefits of globalization are not gendered-neutral; that the consequences of globalization are not uniformly the same for women and men.
My paper focuses on how the global economy, created unprecedented opportunities for women to participate in the labor force while at the same time increasing their exploitation manifold.
The paper addresses three main issues: First, the increased migration and mobility of women and the extent to which their increased labor force participation and gender autonomy has resulted in changes in family structures and social relationships. Second, the free market economies have promoted greater movements of people and increased tourism, including sex-tourism. What effect has this and the co modification of women’s bodies had on millions of poor women in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and African countries? There is considerable evidence to suggest that incidence of HIV/AIDS is increasing faster among women than men in the developing countries. The paper examines how this will affect their roles as producers and reproducers and as both victims of AIDS and care givers to those afflicted with AIDS.
Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of numerous grassroots efforts by women to resist and challenge the detrimental effects of globalization and to create new spaces for themselves in the global economy.


Dr. Purnima Mehta Bhatt  (United States)
Professor of History, Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Department of History, Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Hood College

Purnima Bhatt is a Professor of Anthropology, History and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hood College in Maryland, US, where she has been teaching since receiving her doctorate in African History in 1977.
She was born in India where she spent her formative years, receiving her B.A. and M.A. in Ancient Indian History. She is the author of two books and a recipient of numerous grants and awards. Her research interests included women in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Women and the Exercise of Power and Women and Leadership.

  • Globalization
  • Women in Asia and Africa

(30min Paper Presentation, English)