The Impact Of The Crisis On Women In Developing Asia
As developing Asia is the most “globalised” region of the world in terms of both trade flows and financial flows, it was expected that the global crisis would adversely affect the region. However, while the impact has indeed been strong, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has, as of yet, not been negative; rather, the impact has been seen through rapid rates of declaration.
Therefore, at first glance, the impact appears to be less adverse than in some other developing regions. However, the unfavourable effects are evident in a range of other variables, and may be of longer duration than the period of slowdown in aggregate income growth. Because of this, the effects of the crisis also tend to be disproportionately distributed among the population, with certain vulnerable groups, including women and girls, affected to a worse degree than groups that are more secure or privileged.
Across most countries of developing Asia, gender discrimination is intertwined with other forms of social and economic disparity, such that region, location, community, social category and occupation also play a key role in the extent of deprivation. It is worth noting that many of the worst affected in the recent crisis are also those who are already among the most disadvantaged in most countries, and who did not really gain very much from the previous economic boom that covered much of developing Asia.
The crisis has resulted in – and its impact has been felt through – the following: the global decline in exports, which has directly affected export production and, through a negative multiplier effect, domestic markets; the reversal of capital flows, including both portfolio capital and external bank lending; the pro-cyclicality of aid flows; the impact of the crisis on migrant workers and therefore upon remittances; exchange rate devaluation which has affected domestic production and prices; extreme volatility in global food prices; and the fiscal constraints in many developing Asian countries that have already led to cutbacks in important public expenditure, impacting access to basic services and the quality of life. These processes have already had adverse effects on women in a variety of ways, and several of these impacts are likely to be exacerbated in the near future even if economies recover. Some of the main impacts include: employment effects; declines in real wages and income from self-employment; changes in patterns of migration; the impact of higher food prices on food consumption of women and girls; access to health care; access to education; and greater exposure to domestic and other forms of violence due to increased social tensions.