Equal Rights – Equal Responsibilities

Gender and the Economic Crisis

The economic recession following the financial crisis poses threats to gains in gender equality, poverty, and in fact to all the Millennium goals.

The current crisis has a higher differentiated impact on women because their economic position at the start of the crisis was not equal to that of men. Women are more likely than men to be in vulnerable jobs, to be underemployed or without a job, to lack social protection and to have limited access to and control over economic and financial resources.

Economic crises increase all forms of violence against women including trafficking and prostitution.

Austerity measures which encompass public budget cuts affect support services leaving women victims of violence even more vulnerable than usual. Such cuts have led to reduced police priority, legal aid, health services and other essential services for victims.

The current financial crisis is a consequence of the failure of the governance of finance. Finance has been allowed to grow too big compared to the real economy. Money and returns on money and not the provision of goods and services has become the ultimate purpose of the economy. This governance is gendered because there is a large under-representation of women in financial decision making.

There is therefore urgent need to analyse the deep-rooted causes of the crisis and work for advancing an alternative vision of development grounded on human rights and gender equality.

The International Alliance of Women IAW calls for

  • the integration of a strong gender equality perspective in all recovery programmes
  • equal participation of women in decision making at the highest levels (preferably through the adoption of quotas) in the formulation and implementation of all policies, in particular economic/financial and in the corporate/private sector, in order to rectify the negative effects of these policies on women wherever they exist
  • the elaboration and implementation of macro-economic policies that respect human rights and gender equality

IAW has decided to implement capacity building on feminist economics of its members to enable them to undertake important actions on these issues, and we will prepare a side event on this topic in relation to the CSW 58 in New York 2014.

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