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Outsourcing to the Post-Soviet Region and Gender

Outsourcing to the Post-Soviet Region and Gender
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Author(s): Elena Gapova (European Humanities University, Belarus)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Eileen M. Trauth (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch150

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to analyze the outsourcing of information technology (IT) jobs to a specific world region as a gendered phenomenon. Appadurai (2001) states that the contemporary globalized world is characterized by objects in motion, and these include ideas, people, goods, images, messages, technologies and techniques, and jobs. These flows are a part of “relations of disjuncture” (Appadurai, 2001, p. 5) created by an uneven economic process in different places of the globe and involving fundamental problems of livelihood, equality or justice. Outsourcing of jobs (to faraway countries) is one of such “disjunctive” relationships. Pay difference between the United States (U.S.) and some world regions created a whole new interest in the world beyond American borders. Looking for strategies to lower costs, employers move further geographically; and with digital projects, due to their special characteristics, distribution across different geographical areas can be extremely effective. First, digital networks allow reliable and real-time transfer of digital files (both work in progress and final products), making it possible to work in geographically separated locations. Second, in the presence of adequate mechanisms for coordination through information exchange, different stages of software production (conceptualization, high-level design and low-level analysis, coding) are also separable across space (Kagami, 2002). In the Western hemisphere, the argument for outsourcing is straightforward and powerful. It is believed that if an Indian, Chinese, Russian or Ukrainian software programmer is paid one-tenth of an American salary, a company that develops software elsewhere will save money. And provided that competitors do the same, the price of the software will fall, productivity will rise, the technology will spread, and new jobs will be created to adapt and improve it. But the argument against outsourcing centers on the loss of jobs by American workers. Although there is no statistics on the number of jobs lost to offshore outsourcing, the media write about the outcry of professionals who several years ago considered themselves invulnerable.

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