Transnational cycles of gendered vulnerability: a prologue to a theory of global gender injustice

Alison Jaggar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Across the world, the lives of men and women who are otherwise similarly situated tend to differ from each other systematically. Gender disparities vary widely within and among countries but women everywhere are disproportionately vulnerable to poverty, violence, and political marginalization. This article proposes that global gender disparities are maintained by networks of norms, practices, policies, and institutions whose scope is global as well as national. These networks interact with each other, sometimes reducing the gendered vulnerabilities of particular groups of women but often maintaining or intensifying them. Previous authors have shown how gendered vulnerabilities in different areas of life mutually reinforce each other, referring to these feedback loops as cycles of gendered vulnerability. I argue that cycles of gendered vulnerability now operate on transnational as well as national scales and I illustrate this by discussing the examples of domestic work and sex work. If global institutional arrangements do indeed help to create distinctively gendered vulnerabilities, these arrangements deserve critical scrutiny from philosophers concerned with global justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Global Justice
EditorsAlison Jaggar
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherPolity Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-745-67976-1
ISBN (Print)978-0-745-66376-0, 978-0-745-66377-7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


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