Mina Baliamoune-Lutz, Professor and Kip Fellow of Economics.
Professor Baliamoune–Lutz began with an overview of globalization as a process that affects the environment, as well as culture, political systems, patterns of economic development and the wellbeing of people around the world. She addressed potential benefits of globalization—including larger markets, more capital flows and cultural rapprochement—and also potential downsides, such as overproduction, outsourcing of jobs and depletion of natural resource. Professor Baliamoune–Lutz discussed the uneven effects that globalization has on a regional level, as a process that benefits some regions more than others. As examples, she pointed to striking disparities in the amount of Foreign Direct Investment and access to technology in different parts of the globe. She then examined this issue of imbalance from the perspective of gender, comparing the potential benefits to woman—including employment opportunities, enhanced work conditions, and access to skills, finance and technology—to the reality of losses, or no net gains, for women. The disparate effect of how globalization impacts women is a result, she pointed out, of such factors as women’s continuing lack of access to education and technology, their overrepresentation in low-skill work, their lack of ownership of productive assets, as well as cultural and legal systems that are biased against them. Professor Baliamoune-Lutz pointed out the paradox that in many countries, "globalization might constrain women to quit school and work in low-skill jobs." To counter the idea that such gender imbalance is present only in the developing world, she showed data from the 2015 Human Development Report (hdr.UNDP.org), locating the United States between Rwanda and Tunisia on the United Nations Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index. Professor Baliamoune–Lutz concluded by observing that globalization is part of a historical trend that will continue into the future, and we therefore must find ways to “capitalize on its positive effects and minimize (if not eliminate) its negative effects.” In her final remarks, she urged women to embolden themselves and to insert themselves into positions of achievement—as women have done throughout history. (Facebook post)