Women are often the first to lose their jobs, first to forego healthcare and education, and first to enter flexible labor markets with poor working conditions during IFI-imposed economic reforms. Gender Action prepared this gender toolkit for civil society organizations conducting research, monitoring and advocacy on the international financial institutions (IFIs) and commercial banks in order to support efforts to ‘engender’ their work. June 2010. (PDF).
Notwithstanding the fact that economic, trade and labour policies have differentiated impacts on men and women, the concept of gender has been systematically ignored by the analysis and formulation of these policies. Although economists show certain openness to acknowledge gender inequality in microeconomics – mainly in terms of within-household distribution – this perspective has failed to be incorporated into the area of macroeconomics and trade agreements based on the assumption that these are gender-neutral spaces.
Some of the main problems to carry out economic analysis – such as the effects of multilateral trade liberalization – from a gender perspective are related to the economic theory itself which bases most part of its studies on the analysis of an average representative agent that fails to recognize the differences between men and women.
The lack of theories, methodologies and indicators and the very absence of the subject in those schools where economists are trained, contribute to reproduce this situation. In recent decades, progress has been made by feminist analysis in developing research aimed at reformulating traditional theories, methodologies and models, thus managing to include gender as an analytical category and looking deeper into the effects of economic policy measures on gender relations.
The gender perspective in economic research faces the so-called “gender-blindness” of traditional approaches and points to the existence of unequal relations between genders, which generally make women suffer the unfavourable effects of implemented policies. Analyses of the negative effects of gender stereotypes on women’s economic opportunities, the labour market, employment quality, living standards and poverty were also launched.
The economic phenomena taking place as of the early 1990s have brought about changes – in some cases radical ones – in the modes of production and evolution of employment, in the relationships between the State and social structures as well as in the links between countries and the international community. These changes have had specific repercussions on the life of women.
The structural adjustment programmes applied by governments (and usually imposed by international financial institutions) involve trade and investment liberalization, privatization, deregulation and austerity measures including cuts in state social policies. However, these programmes are not gender-neutral since one of their main biases is the transfer of state costs to the reproductive economy and the unpaid work of women.
The effects of changes that have taken place in production systems and the labour market as a result of economic liberalization, have been studied with regards to labour flexibility, informality and precariousness, the new production linkages and the maquila phenomenon. These analyses also give visibility to unpaid domestic work and the need for this to be considered as work in national budgets, adopting different measurement methods in order to contribute to the debate and analyses of unpaid and non-financial activities, mainly carried out by women within their households and in the community (reproductive economy).
In order to have analysis that are not affected by “gender-blindness”, it is necessary to develop macroeconomic models reflecting the role played by gender relations in the economy and showing a critical position on the assumptions of current models. Likewise, the economists that traditionally carry out gender-neutral analyses should include the contributions feminist economists have made over the years into their research, thus preventing the existence of two schools on the same phenomena.
Trade consequences would be different for women and men on account of at least three reasons: 1) In the first place, because most part of the work carried out by women goes unpaid and unacknowledged; 2) In the second place, a significant part of female work is not translated into formal employment, but rather involves jobs in small-scale enterprises lacking social coverage and protection (neither provided by the law nor by trade unions); 3) In the third place, the world of salaried work, both formal and informal, is highly discriminatory: male is associated with machines and technology, while female is associated with household activities and the area of services. Female salaried work is considered to be less valuable than the work carried out by men. Women continue to earn lower salaries and have both less social security coverage as well as less opportunities. (Espino, A & Azar, P (2002): Comercio Internacional y Equidad de Género, Tomo 1, LAGTN)
Work is not employment: As a human pursuit, work includes both paid activities performed in the context of the market and unpaid activities undertaken outside of it. Some economists argue that, for the sake of accuracy and completeness, the concept of work should include the subsistence, domestic, informal and volunteer sectors as well as traditional formal employment. These analytical approaches clearly bring out the asymmetrical distribution of workloads within households, most particularly the excessive burden on women, amounting to a double working day. (ECLAC, “Women’s contribution to equality in Latin America and the Caribbean”, August 2007).
Poverty: The gender perspective poses criticism to an income-based definition of poverty and highlights the material, symbolic and cultural components as those which influence power relationships which in turn determine a greater or less gender access to material, social and cultural resources.
Budgets: Although gender responsive budget initiatives have not defined a unique way of action, they have the following characteristics in common: 1) They are not aimed at formulating separate budgets for women and men. 2) They are focused on the analysis and consideration of gender-related aspects, gender mainstreaming in all budget areas and stages, and in the policies thus enabled. 3) They promote the active participation of women and civil society organizations. 4) They monitor and evaluate the government’s collection and allocation of resources from a gender perspective. 5) They promote a more effective use of resources, taking into account the situation of men and women receiving them, in order to advance towards gender equity, poverty eradication and human development. 6) Their formulation is focused on the discussion of options aimed at giving priority to existing resources and not necessarily on government expenditure and investment increases or changes in the amount of resources allocated to each particular sector. (Source: Presupuesto y género en América Latina y el Caribe) Budget and Gender in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Financing for development: The United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development, FfD, was held in Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March 2002. The FfD process was spurred into being after WSSD+5 and NGO pressure at Seattle forced unprecedented collaboration between the UN and world finance and trade institutions to find better ways to finance development and fully implement the agreed action plans of the major UN conferences of the past decade.
NGOs and social movements from all parts of the world used the Ministerial meeting to jointly discuss alternative proposals to the neoliberal trade agenda. Together they put forward the claim that a new model of governing multilateral trade must be developed, which shifts away from the trade model embodied by the WTO to allow for space for alternative, heterodox and feminist economic and development approaches. These approaches make the crucial link between economic and social policies, focus on people's needs, rights and livelihoods, including the empowerment of women, social justice and equality as well as an equal distribution of resources and power and put the social reproduction side of the economy at the core. December 2009.
A feminist political economic approach reveals and clarifies how gender determines or influences the social and political relationships and structures of power and the differential economic effects that flow from these relationships and structure. While the Feminist Political Economic Framework has a particular focus on women, it does not exclude concerns about the whole of society or the environment. Understanding gender divisions implies looking at both men and women from a feminist perspective and with a special emphasis on women’s subordination and the pursuit of gender equality. March 2008.
This case study examines the impact of activities of the women's movement, NGOs and unionist women in the Latin American region on gender policies of the Southern Common Market It outlines the regional integration process of MERCOSUR's memeber states and the current situation regarding its gender policies and egagement with civil society. 2008, pdf format.
DID YOU KNOW THAT: -Coherence, as described by the WTO, World Bank (WB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF), refers to: “active cooperation among the WTO, WB, and IMF to ensure that the relationship between international trade, debt, and finance policies of these three institutions are all consistent in their support of internationally agreed-upon development goals.” This article explains and gives facts around trade and development policy coherence in the areas of agriculture, services, investment and balance of payments in clear, simple language. Pdf format, 2003.
The study presents an overview of the impacts of the economic policy regimes prevailing in Uruguay over the last fifty years on women’s well-being and gender relations. It considers two periods: the Import Substitution Strategy (ISI)- from 1930 to 1955 and the liberal orientation, from 1973 to the present. During the ISI, there was a sharp sexual division of labour between production for the market (men) and household and family care (women). The recognition of
women’s civil rights and progress in the area of labour legislation sought to patronize women and safeguard their role in the home. Later, in times of financial liberalisation and trade opening, there was a progress in women’s well being in terms of opportunities and capabilities which altered traditional gender relations. However, gender labour segregation has persisted, women have tended to remain excluded from bodies and entities that make rules and policies, and sexual division of housework has seemed to show slight variations. Pdf format, July 2006.
Mainstreaming gender into trade policy is an important matter: trade impacts on gender relations in a variety of ways. Gender impacts may be positive or negative, depending on the pattern of trade, the values of imports and exports, the sectoral distribution of exports and import competition, the skill level of male and female employment, labour market policies and institutions, laws and the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, the gender division of labour in households, and the cultural pattern of male and female roles in the economy at large, including the unpaid economy. In this briefing paper, Irene van Staveren develops a tool for policy makers to mainstream gender equality goals in trade agreements. The proposed tool consists of a set of gender and trade indicators. The briefing paper discusses the methodology chosen for the development of the indicator; it presents eleven indicators, and illustrates their use in relation to the bilateral trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the four Southern American countries, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, associated in Mercosur. February 2007 (pdf format).
A research by Alexandra Spieldoch on the reality of trade in the Americas from a critical perspective, crosscutting gender and trade issues in an insight on the impact of trade negotiations within a gendered analysis of society. Pdf format, April 17, 2006.
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) seeks to deepen and expand economic and trade liberalisation in the region and mimics all the main negotiating areas found in current international trade agreements, particularly those in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), as well the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Being an agreement which focuses on liberalisation, the CSME can be expected to have the same range of impacts on the lives of women and men as do other trade liberalisation agreements. December 2006.
This article examines the various approaches to understanding the relationship between women and poverty. It discusses traditional methods of analysis, which focus primarily on female-headed households, as well as new conceptualizations of poverty and their importance in gender-based poverty analyses. Pdf format, 1998.
The economic dimension is the next challenge towards global gender equity. More than half the women in the world live in countries that have made no progress towards gender equity in recent years. That is one of the findings of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2008 that Social Watch launched at the UN headquarters in New York as a contribution to the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. February 2008.
This paper argues that gender-specific educational choices have macroeconomic consequences in terms of economic growth. The presence of a social norm affecting persons choosing gender atypical educations at the university level generates a suboptimal allocation of ability, which lowers technological change and the stock of human capital, and thus hurts growth. The analysis of a cross-section of 69 countries over the period 1970 to 1998 lends empirical support for the importance of the educational gender stereotypes for economic growth. Pdf format, November 2006.
It is important from a theoretical as well as a social justice standpoint that dominant growth paradigms incorporate the point that inequities evolve and persist partly because they advantage some over others. Treating institutions as endogenous results of social struggle as well as economic exigencies strengthens the case for public policies that target changing social norms, as well as points to the importance and effectiveness of collective action in challenging inequities. Pdf format, March 2007.
The results of the 2007 Social Watch Gender Equity Index (GEI) clearly demonstrate that a country’s level of wealth does not automatically determine its degree of equity. The United States, a high-income country, is one of the 10 countries that have experienced the greatest regression. Obviously, the key to gender equity lies not in a country’s economic power, but rather in its government’s political will. March 2007.
A call for structural, sustainable, gender equitable and rights based responses to the global financial and economic crisis. "The recent G-20 decision to replenish International Monetary Fund (IMF) resources is based on an overproduction and overconsumption model that ignores social reproduction, sustainability of the resources of the planet; and is based on a few acting to the exclusion of the many." April 27, 2009
This comment paper analyses the results of the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), adopted in September 2008 in the capital of Ghana, from a gender perspective. It reviews the mobilisation process of women’s rights organisations in the lead up to Accra, going on to analyse the results obtained, and mentioning some of the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead in the lead up to the IV High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which will take place in 2011. February 2009. Pdf format.
This approach to defining gender equitable public policy raises questions on the extent to which gender mainstreaming continues to be a useful strategy. There is no debate as to whether or not there is any need to address discrimination. However, we need to be able to go beyond these approaches in order to deal with the "systemic issues" on the appropriate role of various social institutions in provisioning for the improvement of well-being. Public policy must change the incentive structures in society so that the responsibilities for provisioning and care are more evenly carried among states, markets, and households or communities. In doing so, genderequitable public policy contributes to social transformation. December 2008.
The joint action and advocacy of women’s rights networks and organisations achieved some concrete commitments related to the promotion of gender equality in the Accra Agenda for Action. The Doha outcome document approved two weeks ago in Qatar goes beyond the Monterrey Consensus in terms of measures and commitments on gender equality, and that has been the result of the great advocacy and lobby work by women’s organisations. In the coming year we will continue working on the follow-up. December 2008,
The instruments that might have made gender equity funding possible have been frustrated by mechanisms like free trade agreements, or development policies themselves. In addition, many governments are still concentrating on policies focused on education while leaving aside the economic and political dimensions, which at the moment exhibit greater gender inequality. Columns and interviews on Doha conference and financing gender equiality by Cecilia Alemany, Anne Schönstein, Inés Alberdi, Syeda Hameed, Mary Rusimbi, Roberto Bissio and Letty Chiwara.pdf, November 2007.
This working paper will provide an overview of FfD process to date from a gender perspective as well as providing inputs for feminist mobilization towards Doha. By doing so, it may be used as an advocacy tool for women’s movements and networks to build a perspective to FfD agenda as well as feed into FfDgender-sensitive policy proposals. Pdf format, November 2008.
Paper based on WIDE documents from Carmen Cruz, Mariama Williams, and Brita Neuhold; the formal Submission on Women Consultation for FfD ( New York, June 16-17 2008) and interventions of Marina Durano, (DAWN) on behalf of the Women WG on Financing for Development in the meeting to review Doha draft outcome document UN GA 8th 11th New York. November 2008.
"It is important to fight poverty, but it is also important for us to talk about wealth redistribution. Otherwise development, growth and wealth become empty, hollow concepts" said Marta Lago, from the International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN) at the closing of the civil society parallel forum in Accra. September 2008.
This report was researched and written by the Gender & Development Network (GADN) because of a growing concern about the fast changing aid structures, such as direct budget support, pooled funding schemes for supporting civil society and other forms of donor alignment and their possible implications for work on gender equality and women’s rights issues, in the Global North and South. January 2008. (PDF).
In September, in Accra, Ghana, the commitments made in 2005 in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness will be examined. This agreement between governments and international cooperation agencies was aimed at harmonising and improving development aid administration. One of the crucial tasks that organisations and movements fighting for women’s rights have set themselves is for international treaties and commitments to include specific financial policies to bridge the gender gap. August 2008.
This set of Primers shares critical information and analysis about the new aid architecture that has emerged as a result of the Paris Declaration (PD)-the most recent donor-partner agreement designed to increase the impact of aid. This aid effectiveness agenda, the result of the signature and implementation of the Paris Declaration process currently determines how and to whom aid is being delivered as well as how donor and aid-recipient countries are relating to one another.
More than 40 women representatives, called by WIDE, came together in Madrid on 14 and 15 July for a lively and participatory meeting to further prepare womens contribution in the Aid Effectiveness and the Financing for Development processes. Activists and representatives from different European, Latin American, African and Asian womens networks and organisations shared their respective knowledge, experience and analysis. They discussed strategy and reached agreement on how to support the participation of womens rights organisations in the forthcoming events on the global development agenda. August 2008.
This set of proposals that substantively address women’s inter-linking concerns in the Monterrey Consensus was discussed and adopted at a women’s consultation meeting convened by the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development in New York on June 16 and 17 2008.
Foreign aid budgets administered by the European Union's most recent entrants do not pay sufficient heed to the needs of women in poor countries, a series of new studies has found. Women have a higher rate of unemployment than men and are overrepresented in the industrial sectors paying the lowest wages. In addition, women seeking promotion tend to face a "glass ceiling", with female candidates in job interviews often questioned about their private lives. June 2009.
The Paris Declaration relies on a range of “new” aid modalities, including budget support, sector wide approaches, poverty reduction strategy papers, basket funding and join assistance strategies. Across the board, these modalities raise concerns in terms of the possibilities for real civil society participation in influencing development plans and funding for development, limited capacities to play an informed role in shaping and monitoring budgets, persistent conditionalities imposed by donors that override national development interests, and fears that “country ownership” in contexts of lukewarm political commitment to gender equality will translate in far-reduced donor support for women’s rights. January, 2008, pdf.
In the Monterrey Consensus adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2002, UN Member States made a number of commitments to mobilize and allocate resources for achieving sustainable development, poverty eradication, gender equality and the empowerment of women. They committed to mainstreaming “the gender perspective into development policies at all levels and in all sectors”, and to reinforcing national efforts aimed at formulating “social and gender budget policies”. Current preparations for the follow-up review Conference scheduled to take place in Doha in 2008 provide an opportunity to assess progress in meeting these commitments. October 2007.
The new regime of aid effectiveness, harmonization and alignment and its three planks of poverty reduction,country ownership and participation of key stakeholders in national planning process would seem to purport well for democracy and participation. But this, as discussed with poverty reduction, social and gender equality concerns, can not be automatically assumed as the end results of the various instruments of aid modalities undertaken within the operational framework of the new aid regime. Pdf format, June 25, 2007.
Financial and economic crises and a rapid loss of existential security are nothing new for women and men in the former socialist bloc countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). These crises have been a permanent condition of everyday life for the majority of populations in the region. December 2009.
Across the centuries, the international division of labor has included a variety of translocal circuits for the mobility of labor and capital. These
circuits have varied considerably across time and space, shaped at least partly by the specific constitution of labor and capital. Many of these older circuits continue to exist today. But there are often new dynamics that feed them. And there are new types of circuits as well. One outcome is the emergence of novel global geographies, which cut across the old North-South divide. They are constituted through a variety of familiar processes: the increasingly globalized operations of firms and markets, through the multiplication of firms’ affiliates and partnerships, through labor migrations and people trafficking networks. These new geographies are also constituted by far less familiar dynamics, such as new types of mobility through digitization and virtual outsourcing and, perhaps at the other end, global peddling. June 2008, pdf format.
Reviewing the literature and discussions shows there is no unified feminist position on the inclusion of labour standards in trade policy. Feminists do, however, share common concerns around core labour standards, decent work and corporate social responsibility. Those policies need to explicitly address the situations, experiences and wishes of women, and need to address the gendered nature of economic and trade policies. Gender discrimination forms an integral part of the market economy. August 2008.
This discussion paper provides an overview of ILO research from the last two decades into women, gender and the informal economy. It examines methodological and analytical frameworks used in various studies, identifies research gaps and proposes directions for future work. Informal work has not only persisted on an international scale since the 1970s, but has also expanded and appeared in new guises in the context of globalisation, neo-liberalism and cross-border and ruralurban migration, all of which are highly gendered processes. 2008. pdf format.
Development programmes and efforts on behalf of workers and childrens rights in small-scale mining communities must pay attention to gender. The hazards and risks of the work of women and girls must be granted the same recognition as those of men and boys. The studies have shown that the problem of double burden, dangerous work exists; it is time now to give it double attention. 2007, pdf format.
This book brings to the fore two key issues in the structural pattern of inequality between women and men: first, political participation and gender parity in decision-making processes at all levels, and, second, women's contribution to the economy and social protection, especially in relation to unpaid work. The report, presented at the 10th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean sets out active policies for overcoming the obstacles to equitable access to the labour market, especially those arising from the sexual division of labour which has become established through usage and the frequent discriminatory practices observed on the labour market. August 2007.
The paper deals with issues of social reproduction within a globalized world in which we are observing gender transformations that are shifting gender relations. In particular, women’s roles have been changing quite deeply and, in the process, men’s have been transformed also, even though questions remain about the extent and significance of these transformations from a gender perspective. Pdf format, March 2007
Care (whether paid or unpaid) is crucial to human well-being and to the pattern of economic development. Some analysts emphasize the significance of care for economic dynamism and growth. Others see care in much larger terms, as part of the fabric of society and integral to social development. Citizenship rights, the latter argue, have omitted the need to receive and to give care. To overcome the gender bias that is deeply entrenched in systems of social protection
and to make citizenship truly inclusive, care must become a dimension of citizenship with rights that are equal to those that are attached to employment.
This paper traces the evolution of ideas in the area of gender and care, and analyses some of the main strands of thinking that have contributed to this ongoing debate. Pdf format, June 2007.
Provides a global picture of job-related discrimination, citing both progress and failures in the struggle to fight discrimination ranging from traditional forms such as sex, race or religion, to newer forms based on age, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS status and disability. Pdf format, 2007.
In this article from Finance and Development, Janet G. Stotsky of the IMF makes a strong case for "gender budgeting." Experience in developing countries show that increased opportunities for women has contributed to countries' economic growth. Women spend more money on necessities and thus improve the opportunities for their children, they save more of their income and female leaders often focus more on redistributing income and social security schemes than male counterparts. The author argues that governments must consider these facts in their budgets and in financial planning. June 2007.
Gender Action prepared this gender toolkit for civil society organizations conducting research, monitoring and advocacy on the international financial institutions (IFIs) and commercial banks in order to support efforts to ‘engender’ their work. June 2010. (PDF)
This work provides an introduction to the gender impacts of debt and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. When poor countries tighten their belts to repay debts to rich country creditors, it often comes at the expense of poor women and girls and achieving the MDGs. Harmful IFIs loan conditionalities such as slashing public sector wages tend to hit women and girls hardest. October 17, 2007, pdf format.
This paper is a reflection on the environment within which the struggle for gender justice is currently under way in the global arena. It also steps back to provide an analytical frame to explain the core of the tensions between gender justice and other elements of social/economic justice, and the strategic implications of the multiple sites in which gender relations operate. It draws from the experiences of feminists who engaged in analysis and advocacy while participating in the negotiations of the United Nations conferences of the 1990s.But even as such an agenda was being spelled out, the global economic policy terrain was almost entirely subordinated to neoliberal economic thinking dominated by the Washington Consensus. The interplay between these two sets of forces is our subject matter. The paper also comments on the implications for gender justice of the shift to a unipolar world order, and in particular, the movement from the neoliberal era to the neoconservative one. September 2005, pdf format.
How are multilateral financial institutions financed and what is their relationship to developing countries? To what extent are institutions of global and regional financial governance serving public and private interests (including procurement, tied aid, tax havens etc.)? Pdf format, July 2007.
Gender Action published it to provide tools to Southern and Northern citizens groups to conduct gender analyses of World Bank and IMF policy-based loans. They found that policy-based loans often aggravate discrimination against women and girls by intensifying poverty, trafficking in and violence against women, prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. The Guide promotes alternative economic policies based on country- and human rights-centered approaches to development. Guide annexes include a toolkit for stakeholders to analyze Bank and Fund policies and investments for gender equality, a glossary of terms, and a list of resources. Pdf format, December 2006.
This report based on analyzing MDB project documents presents a first picture of the quantity and quality of recent MDB financing of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS projects and describes MDB and IMF impediments to achieving their reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and other MDG goals. Gender Action has developed an agenda of follow-up steps to complete the initial research presented in this report and undertake advocacy to ensure MDB spending on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS is adequate, high quality and implementable. September 2007.
Although publicly-funded International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have missions to reduce poverty and promote economic growth, most of them have taken inadequate steps to try to address these concerns, although nearly all have committed to promoting gender equality. However, these policies tend to be weak, are poorly resourced and understaffed. Gender experts comprise less than one percent of staff at all the IFIs. A citizen's guide to gender accountability at International Financial Institutions. 2007.
Although there have been notable gains for women globally in the last few decades, gender inequality and gender-based inequities continue to impinge upon girls’ and women’s ability to realize their rights and their full potential as citizens and equal partners in decision-making and development. The discourse of citizenship has entered into development debates on poverty, participation and the role and responsibility of governance institutions. What are the implications for the distribution of rights, resources and recognition? Like much else in development, issues of gender justice and the problematic of women's citizenship are not automatically part of these discourses. 2007.
"This is a book written by Latin American women but not only for women. It draws on the ideas of Latin American women and feminists who have made great contributions throughout the world, and particularly of those who have encouraged us to undertake this initiative. This is a book that has benefited from the theory and practice of women’s movements and their contribution to the effervescence present in our societies". The authors aim is to provoke discussion and brainstorming around strategies that are in the process of being constructed. October 2006, pdf format.