Gender Dimensions of the Global Crises and Their Impact on Poverty

Article excerpt

Abstract

The crisis in the global economy continues to affect many men and women living in poverty, but it brings different meaning for both men and women. However, the concept of gender equality gives women and men the same entitlement to all aspects of human development including economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights; the same level of respect, the same opportunities to make choices; and the same level of power to shape the outcome of these choices. But the ground realities are totally different. Pre-existing inequalities, which include under representation of women at all level of property rights, economic decision making, over representation in unorganized sector, traditional occupations due to lack of necessary training and skills play significant role but more gender inequalities arise when economic crisis takes place. It is not only the poor who are not affected but near and working poor are also affected with it.

Key Words: gender and economics, global economic crisis,

Introduction

The global economic crisis was sparked in the financial engine-houses of the world economy in 2008. With this global financial crisis, many of people of developed world are familiar with this painful experience. The experience of people of developing countries may be less painful as they have experienced to live in such state of conditions. However, as such, the impact of global economic recession on the lives of people in developing countries is serious and widespread. Although the world's economies are now improving but the developing countries will take longer time to come out of these crises. Whereas, it is expected that extra 55 million women, men and children have already been pushed into extreme poverty as a direct impact of global crisis, and this number is expected to rise to 89 million by the end of 2010 (S. Chan &M. Ravallion) and the developing countries are being badly burdened. The International Labor Organization stated that in most regions of world, the economic crisis is expected to have greater impact on female unemployment rates than men. This is more clearly in the case of Latin America and Caribbean (ILO, 2009).

The main object of this paper is to assess the position of women in developing economies after the global financial crisis. The paper is divided into four sections. Section I reflects on the character and extent of poverty. Section II is to assess the crisis how it effects women and men differently and unequally? Section III explains the effects of the global crisis. Section IV suggests counter balancing policies for remedial changes.

Section I: The character and Extent of Poverty

Poverty is not a single phenomenon with a simple foundation, invariant across geographic locations and social conditions. Poverty has many faces, and important aspects of the global poverty profile include its global distribution, the rural-urban divide, its gender aspect, and features specific to particular countries or regions such as the caste system in India. Using two standard measures of poverty, namely, living on less than $1 or $2 per day, World Bank data and forecasts across the economically less developed part of the world is shown with the help of following table.

South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have two of the largest concentrations of the poor. In the more than the sixty years since the end of WWII, East Asia has undergone the greatest progress in the reduction in poverty. In the last thirty years, China has shown a remarkable reduction in poverty also. More specifically, approximately 1 billion people globally lived on less than $1 per day in 2004, and more than 2.5 billion or half of those in low and middle income countries lived on less than $2 per day. Although there has been limited reduction in those numbers since 1990 but there is no much progress in the numbers living below $2 per day. Trends clearly show that there is extreme reduction in poverty in India. …