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In the Western world, the cause of feminism enabled women to obtain higher education and participate in the economic sector as the equals of men. However, one question that continues to be of interest to modern scholars is: how far have women truly come globally? Not only in Western democracies, but in developing nations located in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. For example, in the Philippines, many women support their families by working abroad as domestics and health care providers, which allegedly fracture family dynamics of many Filipino homes.
While migrant fathers supporting families is seen as par for the course, migrant mothers are blamed for the destruction of Filipino society in the media. “These reports tend to vilify migrant mothers, suggesting that their children face more profound problems than do those of migrant fathers” (Ehrenreich & Hochschild, 40). In the Middle East and North Africa, the economic opportunities of women are even more restricted.
Many of the popular interpretations of Islam prohibit women from working altogether, but in Egypt, women are allowed to seek employment. However, it is usually restricted to the largely unskilled service sector considered to be below the dignity of men. “This is reflected in the very low rates of wage employment in the private sector, continued high unemployment rates for educated females, and a large gender wage gap in the private sector” (Doumato & Posusney, 121).
In the United States, racism is still a potent force preventing the economic advancement of minority women, especially with the dismantling of affirmative action in many states. Still, those making the hiring decisions tend to be overwhelmingly white, and even though many claim to not carry racist/sexist sentiments, research has shown that they have made decisions deleterious to minority women because of stereotypes (Mutari & Figart, 183).
Works Cited Doumato, Eleanor Abdella and Marsha Pripstein Posusney. Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East: Gender, Economy and Society. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003 Ehrenreich, Barbara and Arlie Russell Hochschild. Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003 Mutari, Ellen and Deborah M. Figart. Woman and the Economy: A Reader. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc. , 2003