Chains of Fortune: Linking Women Producers and Workers with Global Markets

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Marilyn Carr
Commonwealth Secretariat, 2004 - Social Science - 220 pages
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Much has been written about the negative impact of globalization on the world's poor, and especially on women. But globalization also opens up new economic opportunities if poor women producers and workers are enabled to take advantage of them. The need for assistance differs between independent producers on the one hand and wage workers in export industries on the other. In the former case, the need mainly is for increased access to global markets. In the latter case, it mainly is for better organizing so as to bargain for better wages and working conditions.
This edited volume brings together six case studies: three which focus on linking local producers with global markets; and three which focus on improving conditions of wage workers and outworkers already integrated into export markets through global value chains. On the producer side, they include examples of: a cocoa cooperative of 45,000 producers in Ghana who are co-owners of a chocolate company in the UK; family-based cooperatives in Samoa which produce organic virgin coconut oil and related value-added products for export to Australia, New Zealand and Germany; and newly established small enterprises in Mozambique which are helping to regenerate the cashew processing and export industry with benefits for women small holders and factory workers. On the wage worker side, they include: thousands of women who have found jobs in the expanding industry in South Africa which exports deciduous fruits to Europe; hundreds of thousands of women in Bangladesh who have found paid employment and increased empowerment in the factories which export ready made garments to Europe and the UK; and thousands of women who have found employment in the newly created industries in India which export information technology-enabled services to Europe and the US. Each case study is written by a team of international and national researchers and aims to present decision makers with concrete examples of how policies and programs which shift the balance of access, power and returns within global value chains can assist the working poor to derive greater benefits from globalization.

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Cocoa Farmers in Ghana
Virgin Coconut Oil in Samoa
Women Producers and Factory
Manufacturing in Bangladesh
in India

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About the author (2004)

Marilyn Carr is an international consultant on gender, technology, rural enterprise and poverty reduction.

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