The Power to Choose

The Power to Choose:Bangladeshi Women and Labour Market Decisions in London and Dhaka

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A powerful analysis of how globalization is affecting the lives of women at work

In this path-breaking study, social economist Naila Kabeer examines the lives of Bangladeshi garment workers in Bangladesh and Britain to shed light on the question of what constitutes “fair” competition in international trade. She argues that if the unhealthy coalition of multinationals and labor movements is truly seeking to improve the working conditions for women and children in the “Third World,” as well as those of western workers, their efforts should be directed away from an attempt to impose labor standards and towards a support for the organization of labor rights. Any attempt to devise acceptable labor standards at an international level which takes no account of the forces of inclusion and exclusion with local labor movements is, she further argues, likely to represent the interests of the powerful at the expense of those of the weak.


  • A fascinating study of how women workers at two geographic poles of the global garment industry view their lives and work. Textured, ethically probing and challenging—a must read for anyone concerned about the impact of globalisation on workers.

    Gita Sen, Professor at the Indian Institute of Management
  • Kabeer has provided valuable statistical data and informative personal testimonies on the lives of an often neglected section of women workers.

    Socialist Review