Gender Perspectives on Trade + CSR in the Electronics Supply Chain

‘Gender discussion? Not really my thing.’ It is not uncommon to meet with such initial scepticism when introducing gender related issues, even among the – fairly large – portion of our population whose lifestyle would not be possible on the gender grounds which existed some decennia ago. As a means of explaining social constructions, gender has received less popular and professional attention than for instance economic ideology or religion. This is probably due to the assumption that gender is largely a reflection of a ‘natural’ division, that between the sexes. In this paper, it is argued that in more ways than that of the age-old nature-nurture discussion, gender perspectives and theories are a useful and lively addition to the tool box of people working in sectors related to trade and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

As we will see, gender issues – though admittedly often associated with the emancipation of women – are broader than the limited concept of offering extra opportunities to women to compensate specific forms of discrimination. Equality before the law is just a starting point. Gender constructs imply roles for men as well as for women. Moreover, it is not just about people having to deal with uneven demands posed on them by the economy, the opposite is equally the case: our economy has to work with the societal input it gets, including deeply ingrained gender divisions.

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publication cover - Modern Devices, Outdated Practices