Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science / Social Justice Research Centre
This paper is based on research that was funded by AusAID’s Australian Development Research Award and conducted by investigators from Edith Cowan University (ECU) – Australia and The Centre for Research on Women (CENWOR) – Sri Lanka. The research sampled 2304 women who worked in factories in Sri Lanka’s Export Processing Zones (2008-2011). The research was predicated on questioning the assumptions and arguments that the majority of women in developing nations have been dis-empowered due to global and national patriarchy. In this paper we present data and allow it to ‘do the talking’. The paper provides a valuable and thorough insight into the realms of factory work in developing nations. We note here that the large sample size allows us to make generalisations and to claim it to be a representation of women who work in EPZs in Sri Lanka. It is our hope that researchers will use this data to supplement theirs and hence create more rigorous debate on the issues of gender and empowerment in developing nations. The authors of this paper are presenting a paper that focuses on new issues and ‘other’ ways to deepen our understanding of women, work, capital accumulation and social status of women who work in EPZs in developing nations.