Multinational corporations, the politics of the world economy, and their effects on women's health in the developing world: a review

Health Care Women Int. 2002 Dec;23(8):861-9. doi: 10.1080/07399330290107476.


Presently, globalization and the world economy maintain power relations that hamper the economic integrity and the political autonomy of the developing world. My paper addresses specific economic conditions that perpetuate poverty and poor health. I examine multinational corporations and their effects on women's health, particularly in Mexico and parts of Asia. The advent of multinational corporate business in Mexico, Malaysia, Philippines, India, and Indonesia has led to increased poverty and human rights abuses. Women bear the brunt of this because of specific international economic arrangements and their low social status, both locally and globally. As a result, their physical, mental, and emotional health is suffering. Solutions to these health problems have been proposed on multiple levels: international top-down approaches (i.e., employing international protectionist regulatory standards, exposing multinationals who infringe on their workers' human rights), as well as local grassroots organizational campaigns (i.e., conducting informational human rights workshops for factory workers). Ultimately, the answers lie in holding corporations accountable to their laborers while developing countries maintain their comparative advantage; this is the only way women's health will improve and the developing world can entice corporate investment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Developing Countries* / economics
  • Economics*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • International Cooperation
  • Mexico
  • Politics
  • Poverty
  • Social Class
  • Women's Health*
  • Women, Working*