Free Trade Is Bad for Women. A WTO Declaration Won’t Change That

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Gendered exploitation is at the heart of the free trade agenda. Female workers make up most of those employed in the notoriously exploitative export sectors, particularly in garment and textile manufacturing. Most of these women lack basic employment security and experience widespread labour rights violations, working up to 16 hours a day, seven days and week while not even earning a living wage.

HUMAN WRONGS WATCH

Human Wrongs Watch

By Sophie Hardefeldt*

Gendered exploitation is at the heart of the free trade agenda — a few tweaks to the edges won’t make it feminist.

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Container Ships, San Francisco bay. Wikimedia Commons.

Gendered exploitation is at the heart of the free trade agenda – a few tweaks to the edges won’t make it feminist. In fact, it won’t do anything much at all. If we really want an international trade system that works for women, tokenism won’t cut it. We need to overhaul our approach to trade.

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5 thoughts on “Free Trade Is Bad for Women. A WTO Declaration Won’t Change That

  1. You’re right, marblenecltr, exploitation is definitely not limited to women. However it’s been my finding that capitalism demands so much unpaid labor on the part of women (child care, housekeeping, elder care) that it becomes acceptable for the so-called market a pittance of the true value of their work.

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  2. You’ve said a mouthful, Alan. I find it interesting that some of Trump’s speeches admit as much. For example, when he asked (at the Republican convention I think), “When is the last time we beat China in a trade deal?”

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