Dr. Muryani, S.E., M.Si., MEMD.
Ketua Departemen Ilmu Ekonomi FEB Unair
Interconnect the gender regimes of institution and the gender orders of local society on a world scale has become a battlefield for the creation of a homogenous gender rules in both institutional and community level. Consequently, the rules in the international economic and political system that is manifested in development policies often do not pay attention to the conditions and needs of women (Denney,2011). These conditions are compounded by an impulse of globalization which not infrequently lead to exploitation against women so that the position of women increasingly marginalized. Women suffer more loss than gain from the process. In other words, the women and their relationships with men receiving tremendous implications of development policy as part of the international economic and political system.
Gender implications of economic policies of transnational development and globalization is seen in some of the important issues in international relations (Baden, S., & Reeves 2000). Implementation of the restructuring of global economic policy as a new form of neoliberalism is one of the issues of international relations that have serious economic and social implications for women. Restructuring of the global economy that began in the 1970s led to the feminization of labor where labor composition is dominated by women. This condition is seen in a study conducted by Guy Standing that over a span of 20 years (1975-1995) has been an increase in female labor force participation as much as 65 percent in many industrialized countries and 51 percent in developing countries. This happens because the policy of restructuring, for example, which occurred in 1973 due to the oil crisis, requiring many companies to subcontract production activities to different countries. As a result, a number of transnational corporations to move their production process based on labor to developing countries that provide a lot of women workers.
Feminization of Labor
In addition,there is feminization of labor by various companies coal and steel industries, this happens because of the abundant number of working women and they are willing to pay cheap ( True 2005). In addition, employing female workers are considered safer than male workers. This is because in the context of the 1970s working women also tend to have a low potential for radicalism than male workers.
The phenomenon of the feminization of the workforce due to economic restructuring still occur in 1980-1990an era, though with slightly different characteristics. The rapid development of information technology industry in the period has encouraged many companies to invest in this field, including the electronics, garments, toys for children and food. As a result, the company returned require women workers as workers in this industry.
More over, besides for the same reason that lower their wages, the company chose women workers because they are considered to have “natural dexterity” and “Nimble fingers” that is needed for the type of work in the field. Both of these terms refer to the ability of women to work skills, such as work that is repetitive, acquired in the family and is regarded as a natural thing. The explanation above shows that there are close links between the global economic restructuring policies with the issue of the fulfillment of the rights of women migrant workers in developing countries.
In addition to experiencing the problems of low labor costs, in the 1980s many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are still entangled macro-economic issues such as the balance of payments deficit, high inflation and low economic growth rates. Various problems were eventually confronts them in the absence of a policy choice but to ask for financial aid (financial aid) from international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. Though policies of both institutions are often, according to Diane Elson, do not pay attention to gender sensitivity and lead to male bias. Stabilization and structural adjustment policies are formulated on the basis of macro-economic analysis, for example, is seeing the general economy and are not reflective of the economic conditions at the individual or household.
A UNDP study on the social dimension of structural adjustment policies in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa reveal that the policy led to the creation of an imbalance of load distribution between men and women which can ultimately hinder the process of sustainable development. Jacqui True also found that the structural adjustment policies in the countries of the South and restructuring policies in countries of the North were driven by the globalization of the economy has led to the feminization of poverty, the poverty profile which hit mostly women (Standing ,1999).
Microfinance as One of Solution
Some facts will be widespread poverty and economic downturn in the community, especially women, on the other hand have encouraged the emergence of a wide range of economic policies that bother on the economic empowerment of the community. One of these examples is the policy of giving small business loans (microfinance or microcredit) unconditionally to community groups in Bangladesh initiated by Mohammad Yunus (Yunus, 2006). The idea has been successfully delivering Yunus Nobel prize in 2006 stems from concern about the poverty in the surrounding communities. In his speech when receiving the Nobel Prize, Yunus through the Grameen Bank which has been in operation since 1983, claims to have succeeded in giving loans to nearly seven million poor people spread over 73 thousand villages in Bangladesh where 97 percent of whom are women.
Then, the successful implementation of the microfinance program has inspired many countries, particularly in Asia, to apply a similar policy to reduce poverty through economic empowerment of women. In practice in various contexts, the program did not necessarily eliminate the problems of inequality and injustice for women. Various studies on microfinance showed conflicting conclusions on the impact of these policies on women. At its core microfinance can not be categorized as a development policy that fully brings improvement of women because the program has not been able to integrate the importance of gender relations between women and men at the household level that affect the success of the implementation of the program.
From discusion above can be drawn some lessons as follow:
- Economic and political system as a local event global, that is manifested in development policies often do not pay attention to the conditions and needs of women.
- Women suffer more loss than gain from the process and receiving tremendous implications of development policy as part of the international economic and political system.
- Restructuring of the global economy that led to the feminization of labor where labor composition is dominated by women and earn lower wages.This must be paid attention.
- It is important to prevent the policy which led to the creation of an imbalance of load distribution between men and women which can ultimately hinder the process of sustainable development.
- The microfinance program has inspired many countries, particularly in developing countries, to apply a similar policy to reduce poverty through economic empowerment of women.