Project on the Study of Gender, Globalization and Human Rights
Professor Elvia R. Arriola, Project Director
Northern Illinois University College of Law
Seminar Student Reflections Delegation Photos Women on the Border


SCHOLARSHIP SEMINAR: Women, Law and the Global Economy

Elvia R. Arriola


This is a legal scholarship seminar.  Students are introduced to the concepts of globalization of the economy and the arguments for and against free trade, regulation of trade and its impact on women and other vulnerable groups.  There are no prerequisites, although a background knowledge of feminist, critical race/latcrit theoretical perspectives is helpful. The seminar meets the graduation writing requirement for 3L students at NIU College of Law.

This course grew out of research conducted by the instructor at the U.S.-Mexico border which examined the law and public policies of foreign trade under NAFTA on the working women, men and children employed by multinational corporations in assembly factories ("maquiladoras"). Aspects of this ongoing work may be viewed on the Women on the Border website under the Articles and Resources link. In a nutshell the critique of unregulated free trade rests on a questioning of the liberalization of corporate activity without regard for the labor and human rights of the workers.

Students explore the relevance of gender attitudes as they intersect with race/ethnicity and class to the discourse of globalization, its purported benefits to signatory nations and its alleged burdens to the more vulnerable populations of economically dependent nations.

It is often claimed that a high majority of those employed in the global economy are young women and children, while most of the world's poor are also female. This course engages students in discussions about how these realities are created, what role the law and public policy play in it and whether or not lawyers and the law can bring about reform and accountability of the worst abusers in the global economy.


SELECTED STUDENT WRITINGS: (These papers are downloadable as Word Docs).


Demetra Christopoulos, Questioning the Incentives Behind Human Rights Violations: Finding a Link from the Demands of a Consumer-Driven World to the Vast Mineral Riches of a War-Raved Congo (Fall 2009).

Carmona Faviola, A New Look at the Communications Decency Act: Should its Broad Immunity Apply to the Facilitation of Prostitution Via the Internet? (Fall 2009)

Alexander Glenn, Istanbullied: A Look Into Turkey's Accession into the European Union Through a Gendered Pespective (Fall 2009)

Eric Leninger, Harnessing the Effect of Globalization on the Bottom Line: Why a Feminine Form of Leadership is Best (Fall 2009)

Nate Nieman, Reading Twitter in Tehran: Iranian Women Emerging Through Technology (Fall 2009)


Rita Gara, Globalization and the Female Migrant Worker: Can Transnational Employment Opportunities Improve Gender Equality in Sri Lanka? (Dec. 2008)

Nicholas Stavros, The Illegal Sexual Exploitation of Women in Cambodia (Dec. 2008)

Juan Ponce de Leon, Globalization of Ukraine, The Development of Organized Criminal Networks and the Exploitation of  Women in the Sex Trafficking Industry (Dec. 2008)

Joseph Hallman, Families Forcibly Segregated; the Human and Economic Toll Accompanying Forcible Detention for Immigration Violations and the Arguments for a More Holistic Approach to Reform   (Dec. 2008)

Colleen Schuster, Same Old China: A Critical Analysis of China's Elite Sports System's Use of Young Females to Position Itseld onto the Global Economic Stage of he 2008 Olympics (Dec. 2008).


Rachel Conradt-Adams,    The International Expansion of Wal Mart and Its Effects on Women in Signatory Nations to Free Trade Agreements, Dec. 6, 2006.

Matthew Miller, The Janus Head of the Socially Responsible Corporation: Can Caterpillar Legitimately Claim to be Socially Responsible While Continuing to Sell Bulldozers to the Iraeli Military Which Uses Them to Violate Human Rights,? Dec. 2006.