May 312010

Excerpt from Taking a Stock: the financial crisis and development from a feminist perspective

By W IDE – Netzwerk Women in Development Europe
WIDE, Globablising Gender Equality and Social Justice

Gender-Specific Outcomes and Consequences of the Crises

The gender-specific outcomes of the crisis vary greatly depending on the country and region. There are very few data on the effects of the economic crisis on women because all commonly accepted macroeconomic assessment systems do not take into account gender-specific issues. The ILO predicts that women in countries where female unemployment is already high and where women cannot easily access the formal labour market will be particularly hit by higher unemployment and increased labour market barriers (North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East).33 An additional risk factor lies in the employment rates in export-oriented manufacturing plants that have been seriously affected by the recession (South East Asia).34

During the crisis, [many] women have lost their badly-paid wage work and have had to resort to  precarious and/or informal jobs. In addition, these new occupations are often a strain on women’s health, due to long and irregular working hours, insufficient breaks, taxing work, the handling of chemicals and so on. In the case of jobs that are maintained despite the crisis, companies often use the economic circumstances as an excuse for worse working conditions and pay (e.g. multinational companies in China, Taiwan and Mexico). Shortage of cash also makes women take on extra work such as housework, childcare, home care, etc., leading to increased levels of physical and psychological stress.

One thing is certain: the crisis has hit the women in the Southern Hemisphere particularly hard. In that part of the world, women constitute up to 70 per cent of the poorest population classes because they have no backup to cushion the fall caused by the effects of the crisis.


30 George 2009 (translated from German)
31 ILO, 26.10.2009
32 ILO 2009, GB.304/ESP/2
33 ILO, 26.10.2009
34 Oxfam 2009

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