Economic Paper

2310-1385 (online)
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This series examines current economic issues from a Commonwealth perspective. The titles in the series are technical papers of topical interest to specialists concerned with trade, micro and macroeconomics, development economics and related subjects.
Women and Structural Adjustment

Women and Structural Adjustment

Selected Case Studies Commissioned for a Commonwealth Group of Experts You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Oct 1991
9781848594883 (PDF)

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These case studies provide much needed information from selected Commonwealth countries which have implemented various types of stabilisation and structural adjustment package with differing degrees of success. They give useful insights into the recent developments and experiences of relevance. These are brought together in the final study which carries out a comparative review, focusing on the main issues raised earlier and pointing to the gaps which remain to be filled by future research.
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  • Preface

    For many Commonwealth developing countries, stabilisation and structural adjustment have been a necessary part of life in recent years, but most of these countries' governments have been concerned about the adverse effects these programmes have been having on those of their people who are in vulnerable positions. Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs considered that women were particularly adversely affected by some of the measures and in 1987 they recommended an expert group be set up to study the impact of structural adjustment on women. Their recommendation was supported by Commonwealth Finance Ministers and approved by Commonwealth Heads of Government.

  • Women and Structural Adjustment - The Case of Bangladesh

    The international recession in the early eighties seriously eroded Bangladesh's growth prospects. There was a collapse in the price of jute - the main export crop - and a simultaneous stagnation of external aid receipts on which the country is almost uniquely dependent. In the face of unsustainable external and fiscal deficits, a wide-ranging programme of stabilisation and structural adjustment was initiated along the guidelines of the World Bank and the IMF.

  • The Impact of Structural Adjustment on Women: The Case of Jamaica

    This report on the impact on structural adjustment policies on women in Jamaica represents an exercise important not only to women's development but to an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of any country's economic policies. To assess the impact of policies on women is to assess their impact on the entire country.

  • Structural Adjustment and its Impact on Women in Malaysia

    A study of the impact of structural adjustment on women in Malaysia must be set against the vast changes that have taken place in the country over the last three decades in economic, social and political terms which have affected the position of women, whether negatively or favourably. While the overall economic position of women has improved during the period, through increased access to education and employment, and reduction in poverty levels, women, together with the poor, are the most vulnerable to the effects of external shocks in the form of commodity price collapses and changes in the terms of trade, economic recession, and adjustment policies adopted in response to these changes. The analysis therefore has to separate the effects of longer-term structural changes, which on balance may have affected women in Malaysia favourably in economic terms, as against their vulnerability to short-term cyclical factors and gender-neutral policy adjustments.

  • The Impact of Structural Adjustment on Women in Nigeria

    It is perhaps necessary to state at the outset that this study, like others of its kind, has to be based on before-and-after type of evidence. This means that it is usually not possible to isolate the impact of the policy or programme under examination and the effects of other relevant factors. But, wherever possible, the nature and impact of other factors that affect women significantly, besides economic imbalances and structural adjustment, will be indicated in the analysis.

  • Women and Structural Adjustment: The Sri Lanka Expereince

    In 1977 Sri Lanka made major changes to its macro-economic policies in the direction of liberalising the economy and placing more reliance on market forces, and accelerating the rate of economic growth was given priority over welfare-oriented strategies. This approach was a marked deviation from the set of policies previously adopted.

  • The Impact of Structural Adjustment Programmes on Women: The Case of Tanzania's Economic Recovery Programme

    After failing to reach an agreement with the IMF in 1981, the Tanzania Government on its own prepared and adopted a short-term stabilisation measure called the National Economic Survival Programme (NESP), which ran from January 1981 to June 1982 and was then subsumed under a broader Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) spanning the period from July 1982 to June 1985. The objectives of NESP and SAP were to revive agricultural output in general and export crops in particular through a number of policy reform measures. These included increased producer prices, improved supply of agricultural inputs, improved market structures by re-establishing co-operatives, improved transport infrastructure, and increased budgetary allocation to agriculture.

  • The Impact of Stabilisation and Structural Adjustment on Women: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago

    Since the UN Decade for Women which culminated in the Women's World Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985, there has been increasing concern, particularly in developing societies, about the need for a more gender-aware approach in the shaping and implementation of public policy. Gender, like other social categories such as class, race, age and rural/urban differentiation, is a key determinant of the way in which public policy programmes - as outputs and outcomes - impact upon the quality of life of a population within any given policy environment.

  • Implications of Economic Reforms for Women in Zambia: The Case of The Economic Reform Programme 1983-87

    Economic adjustment refers to the process of responding to disequilibrium in the economy, particularly to deficits in a country's balance of payments. Short-term adjustment or stabilisation policies focus on the demand side of the economy, whereas longer-term or ‘structural adjustment’ policies emphasise supply factors and the need for fundamental changes in the structure of the economy. Stabilisation and adjustment policies, largely under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have dominated macro-economic policy-making in many developing countries in the last decade.

  • Structural Adjustment in Zimbabwe: Its Impact on Women

    The task of assessing the impact of structural adjustment programmes on the women of Zimbabwe is unusually difficult for four basic reasons. First, there is no clear definition in Zimbabwe of which particular programmes of government constitute the structural adjustment effort or are intended to effect structural adjustment in the economy. Secondly, there has been no pronouncement by the Government that Zimbabwe has embarked on a programme of structural adjustment.

  • A Comparative Review of Country Studies on Women and Structural Adjustment

    This paper reviews the empirical findings of the nine country studies on Structural Adjustment and Women commissioned by the Commonwealth Secretariat and assesses them in relation to the Report of the Commonwealth Group of Experts ("Engendering Adjustment in the 1990s").

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