Monday, May 08, 2006

Gender Relations in Economics

Monkeys on the balcony
Originally uploaded by make_change.
Our recent seminar was about gender issues in economics, at first thought a strange topic for discussion. However, in developing countries, poor families are affected by the economic policies adopted by their governments. For example, when a country must adopt strict conditions of decreased government spending on health care or decide to privatize hospitals, women are affected. General child rearing is still conducted by mothers or grandmothers and the costs saved from the government are actually transferring burdens on those who now must spend more time at home when a child is ill. Higher costs from hospital fees or hospital staff recommending more home care can be economically draining to families who already have small incomes for food and now must sacrifice work time or money to the sick. Women in households must absorb the shocks of these economic policies.

In many underdeveloped countries, women are still doing most of the housework unpaid. Their contributions assist in building a healthy, educated productive class for economic growth, an important factor for governments. However, when households are overburdened with higher food prices and cost of living, coping and survival become crucial in avoiding deeper poverty and less opportunities for their children.

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