Social change occurs all over the world. The art and the pattern of change vary from one society to another. Modernization and globalization are forms of social change that involve the transformation of the society from the traditional to industrial one. When this transformation occurs, social patterns, as well as religious beliefs, also change leading to modernity. The change results in the adjustments implemented by different social movements in order to adapt to the changing needs of the sector that they represent. The women’s movements have shifted their gears when the dawn of globalization took place. They focused more on how to improve the economic status of women by helping them cope with the various economic factors that were affecting them on a day-to-day basis.
Globalization is most clearly defined as an all-encompassing and global process of cultural and socioeconomic change, whereby developing countries seek to acquire some of the characteristics common to the industrially advanced societies. As globalization took place, other changes followed. In the political realm, political parties and different electoral machineries frequently appeared, coupled with the development of bureaucracy. In education, there was an expansion of learning opportunities, increasing literacy, and development of the indigenous educated elite. Religion became less important in many areas of thought and behavior, as traditional beliefs and practices were undermined. The traditional rights and duties connected with kinship were altered, if not eliminated, especially with a distant kin concerned. Finally, where economic stratification was a factor, mobility increased as the ascribed status became less important and the achievements counted for more (Clayton 276).
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Globalization provides a more rational view of the world, and less traditional, thus expanding people’s choices. Diverse cultures blend as cities grow, impersonal bureaucracy expands, and people from various backgrounds combine to encourage diverse beliefs and behavior. Social institutions are changing and the societal fabric is undergoing transformation. Ideas become the center of social life, superseding material things of the modern era. The underlying contention is that modernity has failed to meet human needs, yet it has elevated the way of living of the people all over the world.
Globalization greatly affected different sectors of the society including women’s movements. The women’s movement encounters several challenges in terms of globalization from economic standpoint. Some of the challenges include the widespread removal of economic activities from the family-community setting; the altered structure of the family in the face of the changing labor market and the involvement of women in the paid-labor sector. The difficulty was that it all happened so fast that traditional societies were unable to adapt themselves to it gradually.
Drawing on a case study of the impact of women’s movement on the US peace movement, political scientist David Meyer and sociologist Nancy Whittier suggest that women’s social movements have “spillover effects” on other social and economic protest movements. Social movements, such as the women’s movements, grow from and give birth to other social movements, work in coalition with other movements, and influence each other indirectly through their efforts in a large cultural, political and economic environment.
The researchers studied the women’s movement and the peace movement during the 1970s and 1980s. In examining the peace movement, they relied primarily on historical research and also used various secondary sources. The research on the women’s movement relied on organizational documents, in depth interviews with 44 core leaders from feminist organizations in Columbus, Ohio; and data on women’s movement at the national level drawn from other studies (Clayton 292).
Meyer and Whittier argue that when the US peace movement reemerged in the early 1980s after a period of inactivity, its form and content reflected the far-reaching impact of the second wave of feminism. Indeed, coalitions between feminist and peace organizations became increasingly common in the early 1980s as a response to what both groups viewed as a hostile political climate. Peace activists successfully linked the traditional themes about war and peace (the dangers of militarism contrasted with women’s special caring for life) with feminist themes (analysis of the arms race as a reflection of the larger evils of men’s patriarchal rule over women). The activism of women’s groups drew on the feminist traditions of protest, including symbolic “exorcism” of the evil spirits of Pentagon, establishing “peace camps” outside military bases, sewing and coordinating quilts for large peace ribbons.
Meyer and Whittier note that “one of the most striking changes in the peace movement was the visibility of women, most explicit feminists, in leadership positions” (Shoa 70). Many women active in the peace movement of the 1980s brought their skills and insights directly from the years of feminist activism. Drawing on the ideals and values of the feminist process, various organizations of the peace movement established decentralized organizational structures that emphasized egalitarian participation by all members, consensus decision making, and rotation of key roles among members. There was often an aversion to hierarchy and a strong attachment to local self-determination.
In light of this case study, Meyer and Whittier conclude that a social movement can go beyond its expressly articulated goals to influence the larger sector of social, political, and economic movements. Consequently, the “spillover effects” of a particular social movement can persist over time, even in the face of policy defeats and the demise of movement organizations.
The women’s movement encounters a challenge in the task of diversifying the workplace, which can directly or indirectly affect a nation’s economic strategy for workforce. Women’s participation in the paid labor force of the United States has been increasing steadily throughout the twentieth century. No longer is the adult woman associated solely with the role of homemaker. Instead, millions of women – married and single, with and without children – are working outside the home. Although a majority of women are now part of the paid labor force, there are still some challenges in terms of job options within the workplace for the patriarchal nature has not been completely wiped off in spite of globalization and modernization.
Yet, women entering the job market find their options restricted in important ways. Particularly damaging to female workers is the occupational segregation or confinement to sex-typed “women’s jobs”. Entering such a sex-typed occupation places women in the “service” roles, which parallel the traditional gender-role standard, under which housewives serve their husbands. Thus, women remain underrepresented in occupations historically defined as “men’s jobs” which often carry much greater financial rewards and prestige than women’s jobs do.
The women’s subordinate position in the paid labor force goes beyond earning less money than men and being limited by a “glass ceiling”. This term signifies an unnoticed barrier that bars the advance of a qualified person through a career ladder because of their race, gender, or ethnic background. In early 1995, Glass Ceiling Commission reported that glass ceilings continued to block women and minority group men from top management positions in the nation’s industries.
The classic business model relies on two fundamental drivers of profitability: increasing revenues and controlling costs. Human capital – that is, employee expertise in a workplace, creativity, attitude, teamwork, and entrepreneurship, ability to solve problems and negotiate deals – ensures the organization’s continued progress in achieving these two goals.
Promoting diversity can help the organization increase revenue by attracting new customers; finding new markets; driving innovation, building client loyalty; retaining existing business; keeping the growth strategy from running out of fuel, and improving success in cross-cultural negotiations (Stiglitz 54). Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace will help the organization control costs by lowering hiring and training costs, reducing the attrition rate of diverse employees, and minimizing litigation costs. Cultivating a diverse work environment ensures that the organization maximizes its human capital by searching more broadly for top talent – internally and externally; maximizing productivity through flexibility and employee engagement; and leveraging the value of diverse teams – innovation, creativity, and quality.
Women’s movements seek to promote a workplace that is very diverse in nature. Gender, ethnicity, religion, economic status, and political affiliations are very diverse. A workplace should hire women for top management positions, since this is considered a management strategy to educate employees that leadership capabilities are valued more than gender. One of the women’s movement missions is to work closely with various businesses and stakeholders to establish best practices and build and strengthen relationships. This mission is centered around workforce, workplace and marketplace, with a laser focus on underrepresented groups in leadership roles that would benefit the firm in achieving its business goals. Another aim is to create an inclusive work environment founded on the principles of mutual respect for individual differences, where diversity of thought, mind and experiences is valued and where people are promoted on their merits. Ideally, the workplace must ensure management accountability by establishing standard reporting mechanisms which are reviewed rigorously. The strategy is to utilize our diverse workforce to help clients, customers, and suppliers achieve their business goals by recruiting the highest quality people that mirror their customers and clients, the communities they serve, and the marketplaces they operate in.
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