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Women and Globalization: A Study of 180 Countries, 1975–2000

  • Mark M. Gray (a1), Miki Caul Kittilson (a2) and Wayne Sandholtz (a3)

Abstract

How do rising levels of international interconnectedness affect social, economic, and political conditions for women? Research on gender and international relations frequently offers clear propositions but seldom submits them to broad, quantitative testing. This article begins to fill that gap. We advance the hypothesis that, on balance and over time, increasing cross-national exchange and communication lead to improvements in women's status and equality. Economic aspects of globalization can bring new opportunities and resources to women. But equally important, globalization promotes the diffusion of ideas and norms of equality for women. In an analysis of 180 countries from 1975 to 2000, employing cross-sectional–time-series regression techniques, we examine the impact of several measures of globalization on women's levels of life expectancy, literacy, and participation in the economy and parliamentary office. International trade, foreign direct investment, membership in the United Nations (UN) and World Bank, and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), are associated with improved conditions for women.A grant from the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of California, Irvine, supported this research. The authors are grateful for constructive comments from participants in the faculty research colloquium of the Department of Political Science at Brigham Young University. The authors also received helpful suggestions from their fellow panelists at the 2004 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association and from the editor of IO, Lisa Martin, and two anonymous reviewers.

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