Gendering Liberalisation and Labour Reform in Malaysia: Fostering “competitiveness” in the productive and reproductive economies
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This paper seeks to examine how and why gender needs to be brought into the analysis of state developmentalism in Asia. In doing so, the paper focuses on ongoing processes of labour market and industrial relations reform that have accompanied Malaysia's economic development since the early 1970s. Understanding these reforms from a gender perspective means that we must recognise both the significant contribution that women make to the growth of export manufacturing industries and the role that social relations of reproduction play in underpinning economic reform and transformation. The analysis explores how gendered social relations (of production and reproduction) have been central to the labour politics of Malaysia's state-led developmentalism and how ideas of maintaining 'competitiveness' through the attempts to transition to a more knowledge-centred economy have entailed particular roles and responsibilities for women. Attempts to maintain economic competitiveness in Malaysia have rested upon ideas concerning the need to integrate women more fully into the formal labour market and a greater recognition of the contribution of social relations of reproduction to capitalist accumulation. The article discusses some of the tensions and contradictions that have emanated from this policy shift.
Third World Quarterly
© 2009 Routledge. This is an electronic version of an article published in Third World Quarterly Volume 30, Issue 3, 2009, 469-483. Third World Quarterly is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com with the open URL of your article.
Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific