The gender impact of the global meltdown: 7 new papers and a video

February 24, 2010

     By Duncan Green     

One of the aspects which is almost invariably missing from substantive discussions on the global economic crisis (and which quite often, doesn’t even get lip service) is the gender dimension. Women and men experience crises in different ways, and are unequally affected by government responses. Often, pre-existing inequalities, which include under-representation of women at all levels of economic decision-making and their over-representation in informal, vulnerable, and casual employment, are more significant than gender inequalities arising specifically from the crisis.

Disaggregating the gendered inequalities, impacts and responses can reveal issues that are largely invisible from conventional accounts of the crisis, for example, the impact on the ‘unpaid economy’ as women are forced into taking second and third paid jobs to make ends meet, or the squeeze on women in the informal economy resulting from job losses in the formal economy, or women’s particular vulnerability to being put on short hours in factories and large firms. Since the early days of the crisis, Oxfam’s been trying to fill that gap, and has just published a spate of papers, most of them from our hyperactive East Asia team. Here’s a quick guide

Gender Perspectives on the Global Economic Crisis kicks off with an overview of the issues, and the findings of research from this and previous crises  

Women Paying the Price: The impact of the global financial crisis on women in Southeast Asia summarizes the regional lessons

The original paper from March 2009 that set things in motion, Paying the Price for the Economic Crisis  

Then we get down to the national level

The Real Story Behind the Numbers: The impacts of the global economic crisis 2008–2009 on Indonesia’s women workers

Feminised Recession: The impact of the global financial crisis on women workers in the Philippines

Triple Burden: The impact of the financial crisis on women in Thailand

Beyond the Crisis: The impact of the financial crisis on women in Vietnam 

More Vulnerable: The impact of the economic downturn on women in Cambodia

And finally, the East Asia team has produced this short (6 minute) video of vox pops with Asian women that puts a human face on the issues discussed in the papers