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Gender economics and financial crisis

Jul 14, 2010

Putting gender economics at the forefront, a Social Watch document argues that the economic crisis has deepened gender inequalities even further and now it is time to design and implement a new development paradigm with equal rights and opportunities for all.

Putting gender economics at the forefront. 15 years after the IV World Conference on Women

Publication: Social Watch, 2010

Thirty one years ago, the governments of the world made it their legal responsibility to ensure women’s rights by signing into the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Fifteen years ago, the Beijing World Conference on Women adopted an ambitious plan of action towards gender equality.


This Social Watch paper Putting gender economics at the forefront goes into print in coincidence with the review by the Commission on the Status of Women of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA). This occasional paper includes thematic reports showing women’s experiences and analysis from civil society organizations from different regions and countries.

It also includes the Social Watch’s Gender Equity Index (GEI) plus statistical tables on specific gender issues and examines achievements and setbacks on the status of women and girls since 1995. The different articles, statements and figures highlight women’s global struggle for gender equality and respect of their human rights and freedoms.

It demonstrates that, notwithstanding some advances since the Beijing Conference and the adoption of CEDAW, the UN member States still have not fully implemented their commitments to gender equity as an essential condition for sustainable economic and social development. Also, the evolution of the gender statistical indicators, along with the narratives included in this publication, proves that that there is an evident gap between gender legislation and its implementation of actual policies.

Furthermore, the Gender Equity Index (GEI) included in this publication uncovers a staggering wipe out of the economic gains made by women at the global level and the negative impact of the global financial crisis on them. The regional and national articles that feature in this paper highlight the gendered nature of the crisis and its effects on women and women-depending economies. Moreover, the articles point to concrete policies which should be implemented to deal with the current crises.

The needs of women and girls today go beyond advancing the Beijing Platform and implementing CEDAW to including a call for sustainable development that places human well being at the core of policy making. Regional for a such as the Asia Pacific NGO Forum –included here– point out to the need for sub-regional economic integration processes and national development plans that rest on the principles and practices of ecological sustainability, food sovereignty, financial inclusion, universal social protection, economic solidarity and fair trade.

Despite advances across the globe in legislation geared towards gender equity and judicial processes it is important to note that all around the world the women’s movement has expressed its disappointment with the fact that states are very quick to sign onto human rights instruments and endorse different policies at the international and regional levels but extremely slow in delivering on their commitments and implementing legislation.

There is a diversity of challenges within geographic and ethnographic areas in each region and country and these obstacles must be taken into account when analyzing advances and setbacks in achievements related to women’s status.

However, some regions are also registering increasing dynamics of religious extremism and/or right-wing conservatism that is linked to the perpetuation and propagation of discriminatory laws against women.

However, the global economic crisis also provides an opportunity to debate and to improve the policies States undertake. This global recession is a time for historical transformation in which gender must have a central role. It is necessary to redefine macroeconomics and recognize that monetary economy rests on an extensive care economy in which the main work force is female. As the articles in this publication show the time has come for a new development paradigm with equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone.

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