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The Effects of Structural Adjustment Programs on Women in Developing Countries


  • Alper Karademir

    (Aksaray University, Department of Politics and Public Administration)


From the late 1970s onwards, a growing number of developing countries have undergone an increasing amount of fiscal asymmetries and depreciations in the way in which prosperity is formulated in their productive sectors. When attempting to balance their costs and to engender an environment in which further growth can occur, a number of Middle Eastern, African, and Latin American countries have implemented several different organisational plans. This is called Structural adjustment programs which aim to provide a lasting economic stability, producing a sustainable growth and emerging a functioning market mechanism in accordance with the global economy in countries that applied. This paper purposes to analyse the effect of this SAP, which proposed by World Bank and International Monetary Fund to developing countries, on women socially and economically. These programs may reduce purchasing power due to its main principles such as free market (possible higher prices for basic necessities such as electricity, water), minimizing some services (health care, social care etc.), macroeconomic policies (cut backs wages) and devaluation. Hence, women may have to take place in the workforce as lower paid and unskilled labour, since previously obtained family income is no longer efficient. This process may lead women to exposure to violence both in business and family life. Besides deduction of social services might increase the burden of working woman. This study will start with an introduction part which will include historical background and aims of SAP. Secondly, SAP will analyze in the context of Feminist perspective and also the topic of feminization of labour force will discuss with examples from different countries. Thirdly, the impact of SAP on women and in this context, the relationship of women?s economic participation and SAP will be debated. Consequently, women?s inequality may limit their ability to take full advantage of better macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions and this is ignored by WB and IMF. This program seems to be gender neutral and far away from eliminating these gender inequalities but it indirectly increases, public expenditure on education might be effective to reduce it. Also some other social impacts on women will be tackled in this part. Finally, some solutions and critics on the issue will be given. As methodology, secondary data is used. Various data will be utilised from various developing countries to demonstrate its negative effects. Additionally, other studies in the literature have reviewed to see all the related impacts in different developing countries.

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  • Alper Karademir, 2016. "The Effects of Structural Adjustment Programs on Women in Developing Countries," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 4006460, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:sek:iacpro:4006460

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nilüfer Çağatay & Günseli Berik, 1990. "Transition to Export-Led Growth in Turkey: Is There a Feminization of Employment?," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 115-134, March.
    2. Cagatay, Nilufer & Ozler, Sule, 1995. "Feminization of the labor force: The effects of long-term development and structural adjustment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(11), pages 1883-1894, November.
    3. Forsythe, Nancy & Korzeniewicz, Roberto Patricio & Durrant, Valerie, 2000. "Gender Inequalities and Economic Growth: A Longitudinal Evaluation," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 573-617, April.
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    SAP; World Bank and IMF; women; workforce participation in developing countries; gender inequality; indirect violence on women;
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