This paper discusses a paradoxical implication of employment for women’s empowerment in flexiblecapitalism. Export-oriented factories employ women from the poorer sections of a society and theirearnings make substantial contribution to poverty reduction at a household level. However, animplication of wage work for women’s empowerment is contentious. Many socialist feminist criticshighlight exploitative aspects of export-oriented industries. The micro-level studies point out women’sempowering experiences through employment in daily life. Employing a materialist feministperspective and Bourdieu’s theory of practice, this paper examines the discussion on women’semployment and empowerment in the past fifty years and attempts to understand women’smultifaceted exercise of agency within patriarchal power relations and explain a paradox ofexploitative employment and women’s empowering experiences. It argues that flexible employmenthas empowered many women in the world, yet, in a way to serve flexible capitalism and patriarchy.