Call For Paper: JP 99 Women and Economy


Neoliberalism has became a systemic framework and power behind globalization since the 1970s. The emerged globalization is then characterized by pro-market regulations that emphasize deregulation, privatization, abolition of social security, and the withdrawal of government’ssocial role. Globalization is also linked with the relocation of production from the advanced capitalist countries to low-wage countries, which creates new economic zones. Although it is said that globalization has created economics growth, undeniably economic gap has widened, corruptions endure, environmental destruction worsened, and financial crisis continues to threaten the world economy. In East Asia region, a big financial crisis happened on 1997. In Indonesia, the financial crises expanded and affecting various aspects, which later corresponded with the 1998 reformation wave. The latest and big financial crisis in 2008 also further impacting numbers of developed countries.


For women, neoliberal economy contains contradiction. On one side globalization has created employments for women, especially in sectors and industries such as services and labour intensive production for global market. This condition contributes to the feminization of workforce and the increased female labor force participation in various countries. Women workers become the engine for the exporting countries in global market competition. Women workers are also used as comparative advantage, such as Indonesia women migrant workers for their cheap wages, obedient, and easy to controlled; for global market competition. The same also are applied to labor intensive production sector such as textile and electronics.


Cheap labor strategy has been used by developing countries to attract multinational companies to relocate their factories to the developing countries, including Indonesia. But facts show that most of women’s works remain at the lower level of workforce market, with lower wages, bad working condition, temporary contract and discriminative treatment. This condition inline with Federici’s observation (2000) in the 1980’s and 1990’s decades of a growing trend to transfer the reproductive work in industrial countries and Middle East countries to women workers from developing countries. The phenomenon of cheap labor from developing country still continues up to the present.


Aside from supporting industrial sectors, women from developing countries, such as Indonesia, the Phillippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka have been becoming the backbone of households of the industrial countries, Middle East countries, and some of Asian countries, such as China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Women migrant domestic workers choose their work not as a free option, but out of the economic pushed to maintain their livelehood and scarce employment opportunities in their home countries.


Women reproductive work is not only a care work, which provides an important resource for human capability development (Folbre 2006). Care work is also an important factor that supports the productive work and economy of a country. Women reproductive works also include all kinds of related tasks that support and serve the current and future workforce, those who do or will do the productive work.


Women, especially those in developing country, such as Indonesia, have to face problems such as low wages, exploitative working condition and prone to violence. On the other hand, women still have to do their social and biological reproductive roles. Though women have became part of the global economy, but women’s work both in public and domestic spheres remain undervalued. The description above shows the importance of investigating the problems of women’s work and care economy from the feminist perspective using the intersectional approach in JP 99 about Women and Economy.