Otis, E., & Petrucci, L. L. (2023). The Gender Fix: Outsourcing Feminism and the Gender Politics of Supply Chains. Gender & Society, 37(1), 65-90.

Decades of feminist research has revealed the dismal labor conditions forwomen in global supply chains. Given this reality, why does Walmart use womenin its supply chain as icons of female empowerment? Combining the Marxistnotion of a “spatial fix” with a feminist analysis of symbolic resources, wedevelop the concept of a “gender fix” to understand a growing field ofcorporate programs that use women as symbolic resources to restore the imageof firms as ethical actors. The gender fix encompasses a wide range ofcorporate empowerment strategies to capture a broad pattern of action. Asecond term is necessary to situate Walmart’s particular empowerment strategywithin its corporate positioning as leader of a vast supply chain network. Weidentify Walmart’s particular empowerment strategy as “outsourcing feminism.”Walmart’s use of the outsourcing feminism strategy stems from its commandingposition in supply chains, which allows it to extract a symbolic surplus fromwomen business owners from whom it sources products. When Walmart argues thatit uplifts these women, its strategy targets the consumer end of the supplychain, emphasizing sourcing practices that promote a racially diverse,selfless, and middle-class femininity. In so doing, Walmart deflectsattention from the treatment of women in other segments of its supply chain(e.g., its stores and factories).