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Chinese women after the accession to the world trade organization: A legal perspective on women's labor rights


  • Julien Burda


The World Trade Organization's law is a potentially powerful instrument for improving the labor rights of Chinese working women, if it is complemented by a broad global and multilateral approach. In contrast to much of the writing on core labor standards, this contribution is based on legal analyses, exploring what is possible, practical, and desirable in terms of WTO law. This paper seeks to assess whether the WTO could be used to pressure the Chinese government to improve women's labor rights. Trade sanctions, even if they fulfill the stringent conditions to be justified under WTO law, do not appear to be the best strategy. The incentive approach, based on both the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) unilateral scheme and bilateral agreements, appears to be the best solution for improving women's labor rights. Any use of this tool must complement a global and multilateral approach, including better vertical and horizontal cooperation, among other international organizations and civil society.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Burda, 2007. "Chinese women after the accession to the world trade organization: A legal perspective on women's labor rights," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3-4), pages 259-285.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:13:y:2007:i:3-4:p:259-285 DOI: 10.1080/13545700701439481

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Kahn, Shulamit, 1993. "Gender Differences in Academic Career Paths of Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 52-56, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rickne, Johanna, 2010. "Gender, Wages, and Social Security in China’s Industrial Sector," Working Paper Series 827, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Günseli Berik & Yana Van Der Meulen Rodgers, 2010. "Options for enforcing labour standards: Lessons from Bangladesh And Cambodia," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 56-85.
    3. Jasmine Gideon, 2016. "Migration and Health: Examining the Linkages through a Gender Lens," Working Papers id:8247, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item


    Labor rights; WTO law; women's rights; JEL Codes: J8; J83; K33;

    JEL classification:

    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law


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