College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


gender, empowerment, neoliberal globalization, patriarchy, Bangladesh


Neoliberal globalization is a gendered process. Transnational production in its search for “cheap, docile, and dexterous” labor has led to the expansion of the Bangladeshi export-led garment industry, which in turn has resulted in the feminization of labor. While the increase in number of poor women workers entering the formal economy of Bangladesh may give the impression of empowerment, I argue that the disadvantages associated with employment in the garments sector creates a paradox of empowerment and dis-empowerment. Does economic opportunity inevitably lead to the empowerment of all women? In this thesis I will examine the gendered processes of neoliberal globalization and their impact on women workers in the garment industry.