Engendering Adjustment for the 1990s

image of Engendering Adjustment for the 1990s
‘Having considered the evidence on the impact of the crisis and subsequent adjustment on women, we are convinced that short-term stabilisation measures have too often been in conflict with long-term development goals, and have caused hardships severe enough to invalidate the process. It is only by recognising the economic necessity of protecting the social base, particularly as it affects women, and by incorporating these concerns into policy, that adjustment can achieve the desired results. In other words, adjustment policies which fail to incorporate women’s concerns fully are not only unjust and cause unnecessary hardship but also imperil the effectiveness of the policies themselves. We must stress that our proposals will not be adequately implemented if they are seen and incorporated only as marginal additions to the present adjustment efforts. The problem of existing adjustment is not its omission of a few projects for women – but its failure to take adequate account of the time, roles, potential contribution and needs of half of each country’s population.’ - From the Report

‘The Group’s Report provides an incisive and moving analysis of the special difficulties women are now facing in many parts of the world. It points to the severe and often disproportionate impact which women have encountered in carrying out their four major roles of producers, home managers, mothers and community organisers, in the face of the economic crisis and ensuing structural adjustment programmes which have been experienced by much of the developing world during the 1980s. It finds that, in practice, these programmes have made additional demands on women as producers, while reducing the quantum of social support and other resources available to them in their other roles. The result is to worsen the already harsh pressures on women’s time.’ - From the Foreword by the Commonwealth Secretary-General



The Crisis in Perspective

The unequal position of women vis-a-vis men is as old as society: in most eras, in most places, women have borne a disproportionately large share of the work, and have received a disproportionately small share of the benefits from work–of income, of food, and of services. In certain respects, it appears that there was some reduction in the age old inequality, as well as an absolute improvement in the conditions of both men and women in the three decades from 1950. But in many developing countries this progress was halted, and even reversed, as a result of the economic crisis of the 1980s and the stabilisation and adjustment measures taken in response to the crisis.


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