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Globalization, Uncertainty and Women’s Careers

An International Comparison

Edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Heather Hofmeister

Globalization, Uncertainty and Women’s Careers assesses the effects of globalization on the life courses of women in thirteen countries across Europe and America in the second half of the 20th century.
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Chapter 13: Labor Force Dynamics and Occupational Attainment Across Three Cohorts of Women in Urban Mexico

Emilio A. Parrado


Emilio A. Parrado INTRODUCTION Globalization is likely to impact female labor force participation in a variety of ways depending on a country’s institutional structure and degree of connection with the global economy. In this respect, Mexico stands out from the more developed societies of Europe and North America treated in this volume. While trade and capital investments are increasingly incorporating Mexico into the global economy, wide disparities in economic and institutional development remain between Mexico and more developed countries. As a result, relative to other countries, the intensity of the economic, social and political changes accompanying globalization has been particularly strong in Mexico. The country’s close proximity to the United States, participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), substantial foreign investments and long history of female employment in domestic and informal work set Mexico apart and potentially heighten the impact of globalization on women’s work. The direction of these effects, however, is unclear. Previous studies have shown that female employment in Mexico is highly responsive to socioeconomic change. Women’s labor market entry has been greatly facilitated by educational expansion and declining fertility over time. Beyond personal characteristics, however, contextual forces have also shaped patterns of women’s work in Mexico. Foreign capital investments, particularly in the maquiladora industry, affected occupational opportunities and increased women’s labor market incorporation into blue-collar occupations. At the same time, the recurrent financial crises accompanying economic restructuring have triggered married women’s labor market entry, particularly into domestic employment (Garcia and de Oliveira 1994; Parrado 2005;...

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