Global Resources

Tracking Gender Equity Under Economic Reforms: Continuity and Change in South Asia

Publisher: Kali for Women
Publication Date: Jun 2003
How can we take account of how changes in economic policy initiatives affect gender relations? This book attempts to establish a new framework for gender analysis to address this question. Existing indicators, including education, employment and health status, are broadened to include gender-related stress, anxiety and violence. The framework is then tested through coordinated household surveys, carried out in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Export Processing Units (EPUs), designed for intercountry comparisons between Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Establishing the context of the gender analysis is highlighted as essential. In the context of south Asian societies more broadly, these are simililarly divided along caste, class, ethnicity, religion and location, shaping gender relations in similar ways. By contrast, each of these countries has responded to liberalising policy reforms differently, affecting the relationship between the macroeconomic framework and gender relations in potentially unique ways. One outcome that was reflected across countries was the poor quality of employment for women as a result of these macroeconomic changes. While increases in women's employment may have begun a process of positive change, it appears that liberalisation has not up to now enabled any significant shift towards gender equality.