Global trade is changing how women work.

Supermarkets and major brands source much of their materials and manufacturing in the developing world as part of a “Global Value Chain.” This is a way of obtaining raw materials and bringing goods to market that has become more and more common among major global brands in recent years. One consequence of this trend in global trade and global sourcing has been to upend traditional dynamics around gender and work.

Stephanie Barrientos is a professor of global development at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester who studies the intersection between gender dynamics and global trade.

Her latest research examines how norms around work and jobs in the developing world are being changed by global sourcing from major brands. As Professor Barrientos explains, companies’ Global Value Chains are having profound implications for women and gender dynamics around work and employment in the developing world.

This conversation is a great introduction to key shifts in global trade over the past decade and some of the downstream effects of how large multinational companies operate.  If you have twenty minutes and want to learn how a brand like Cadbury Chocolates is affecting gender roles in places like Ghana, have a listen.

 

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