Engendering Adjustment for the 1990s

‘Having considered the evidence on the impact of the crisis and subsequent adjustment on women, we are convinced that short-term stabilisation measures have too often been in conflict with long-term development goals, and have caused hardships severe enough to invalidate the process. It is only by recognising the economic necessity of protecting the social base, particularly as it affects women, and by incorporating these concerns into policy, that adjustment can achieve the desired results. In other words, adjustment policies which fail to incorporate women’s concerns fully are not only unjust and cause unnecessary hardship but also imperil the effectiveness of the policies themselves. We must stress that our proposals will not be adequately implemented if they are seen and incorporated only as marginal additions to the present adjustment efforts. The problem of existing adjustment is not its omission of a few projects for women – but its failure to take adequate account of the time, roles, potential contribution and needs of half of each country’s population.’ - From the Report

‘The Group’s Report provides an incisive and moving analysis of the special difficulties women are now facing in many parts of the world. It points to the severe and often disproportionate impact which women have encountered in carrying out their four major roles of producers, home managers, mothers and community organisers, in the face of the economic crisis and ensuing structural adjustment programmes which have been experienced by much of the developing world during the 1980s. It finds that, in practice, these programmes have made additional demands on women as producers, while reducing the quantum of social support and other resources available to them in their other roles. The result is to worsen the already harsh pressures on women’s time.’ - From the Foreword by the Commonwealth Secretary-General