Gender Dynamics and Upgrading in Global Value Chains: The Case of Medical Devices

Gender Dynamics and Upgrading in Global Value Chains: The Case of Medical Devices
Year:
Listing Type: Research Reports

Penny Bamber | Danny Hamrick

Global value chain (GVC) integration and upgrading have become key goals of trade and investment policy in developing countries. This study seeks to contribute to the gap in the gender and trade debate by analyzing the gender implications of, and impacts on trade and competitiveness in, a single high value manufacturing sector, medical devices. The medical devices industry offers an interesting example of a high-tech and high-value manufacturing sector. It is characterized by strong and growing global demand as populations age and healthcare expenditure expands. This study utilizes a gendered GVC framework to analyze the dynamics of female participation in two emerging countries in the industry: Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Three key questions are addressed: (1) what is female intensity in the industry and how does it compare to the manufacturing sector as a whole; (2) does female intensity change over time as the sector grows and more technologically sophisticated products are manufactured in a particular location, and (3) do changes in wages as a result of upgrading affect female intensity in different roles within the industry. The study is structured as follows: first, a brief overview of the existing literature on gender and GVC-trade, focusing on the benefits of a gendered GVC approach, followed by a discussion of the methodology used is presented. Second, an overview of the medical device GVC is provided to highlight key global industry characteristics, particularly with respect to the nature of work in the industry. The report examines the experiences of the two countries cases, focusing on each nation’s upgrading trajectory and gender dynamics within the industry.

View Report

Subscribe:

Stay up to date with Duke GVC Center research – subscribe to our monthly newsletter