Women and Structural Adjustment

Selected Case Studies Commissioned for a Commonwealth Group of Experts

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These case studies provide much needed information from selected Commonwealth countries which have implemented various types of stabilisation and structural adjustment package with differing degrees of success. They give useful insights into the recent developments and experiences of relevance. These are brought together in the final study which carries out a comparative review, focusing on the main issues raised earlier and pointing to the gaps which remain to be filled by future research.



Structural Adjustment and its Impact on Women in Malaysia

A study of the impact of structural adjustment on women in Malaysia must be set against the vast changes that have taken place in the country over the last three decades in economic, social and political terms which have affected the position of women, whether negatively or favourably. While the overall economic position of women has improved during the period, through increased access to education and employment, and reduction in poverty levels, women, together with the poor, are the most vulnerable to the effects of external shocks in the form of commodity price collapses and changes in the terms of trade, economic recession, and adjustment policies adopted in response to these changes. The analysis therefore has to separate the effects of longer-term structural changes, which on balance may have affected women in Malaysia favourably in economic terms, as against their vulnerability to short-term cyclical factors and gender-neutral policy adjustments.


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