Unskilled women workers have entered Export – Processing Industries throughout the developing world at an alarming rate. Women overwhelmingly occupy the lowest paying jobs, producing our clothes, agricultural products and other luxuries for export to the US.
As the free trade model replicates worldwide, multinational corporations exploit increasingly weak and “flexible” labor laws. The result is that women workers are systematically denied their rights to regular pay and regular working hours; equal pay for equal work; permanent contracts; safe and non-hazardous work environments; sexual harassment; discrimination and freedom of association. Labor law “reforms” have denied women access to social, maternity and health benefits and women are increasingly subject to subcontracting schemes that blatantly undermine these rights. In light of the global economic crisis, precarious employment has increased, leading women to be among the majority of the newly unemployed or underemployed.