Impacts of Foreign Investment and Sex Ratio on Women’s Status

By Rifat Akhter.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sex ratio i.e., relative to numbers of men and women, can affect marriage, divorce, labor force participation, and fertility rates. Researchers argue that high sex ratio constraint the roles women occupy. Researchers while testing Guttentag-Secord’s theory have either tested limited hypothesis regarding women’s status (i.e., literacy rates or women’s labor force participation) or focused on single society or limited numbers of countries. Even though, South and Trent (1988) have tested Guttentag’s theory at macro level and included large sample size, they have not included any variables that capture women’s control over economic and political institutions. Besides, recent evidence from United Nations and World Bank indicate that countries that have relative undersupply of women have higher women’s participation in the labor force because of foreign direct investments and export oriented productions. Previous studies have not explored impacts of foreign investment and sex ratio on women’s participation in the labor force, marriage, and fertility rates. In this research, using cross sectional and lagged cross sectional data I have explored the net effect of sex ratio and foreign investment on women’s participation in the labor force, marriage, fertility rates, and gender empowerment. I have tested hypothesis of sex ratio theory and gender and development theory women’s status in private and public domain. To measure women’s control over economic and political institutions relative to men I have used Gender Empowerment Index. This index includes women’s share in the politics, bureaucracy, and technical occupations relative to males. Findings indicate that sex ratio is significantly positively related to marriage, women’s participation in the labor force, and fertility rates. However, it is significantly negatively related to gender empowerment. The effect of sex ratio on gender empowerment is more pronounced in the countries that have higher share of foreign investment, which has altered some of the economic structures and roles of women and men of those countries.

Keywords: Sex Ratio, Foreign Investment, Women’s Status

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.107-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 866.095KB).

Dr. Rifat Akhter

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas, USA

Rifat Akhter is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Central Arkansas. Her research interest is Globalization, Gender, Violence Against Women, and Health. She obtained her Masters in Medical Demography from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Ph.d in Sociology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her current research explores how the global economy and unequal power relations between men and women create a context where domestic violence continues to be a regular phenomenon in many women’s lives. In another project she is exploring factors associated with attitude towards wife beating and its prevention among Bangladeshi Men. For this research she is using data from Demographic Health Survey Data 2007.


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