The term 'International division of labour' labels the spatial movement of manufacturing industries from advanced capitalist countries to developing countries (Barney, 2010). This essay will go on to explore and explain the gender differences in the international division of labour. In England before the 21st century, women in factory work were not given the same opportunities as men. Following this, the majority of factory work migrated across the globe to 'Tiger countries' where labour is considerably cheaper and many areas were encouraging global economies with tax reduction schemes. Women compromised the majority of the workforce and largely received unfair and unequal treatment in comparison to their male counterparts. Women are paid less and are given less or no career prospects, unlike the men. This essay will explain reasons why this mistreatment happens and the extent of these gender differences.
In England before the 21st century, the treatment of women in factory work was considerably different to the treatment of men. In their book Women on the Line Cavendish and Glucksman (2009) write about the shocking division of labour in a Smiths factory in the UK in the 1970's. Most of the women on the shop floor were migrants from Ireland, the Caribbean or the Indian sub-continent. They expose the very rigid division between women and men and a strict demarcation between women's jobs and men's jobs. All women were assemblers, doing the same job regardless of their age. All were 'semi-skilled' with no career ladder or promotion prospects, minimal training, and the same low pay. All this contrasted strikingly with the circumstances of the men. Most had some training; many were on a career ladder and so anticipated promotion as they gained in age and experience. There was a clear disparity in the experience of working on the shop floor for the different genders. The division between the women assemblers and supervisors so vast it was virtually unbridgeable (Cavendish & Glucksman, 2009).