Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 23:15:05 -0500 (CDT)
From: Debra Floyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Asian Economic Crisis: Asian Women & Children Victims
/* Written 10:47 PM Oct 17, 1999 by email@example.com in women.labr */
/* ---------- "AsianWomen & Children Victims Of Cr" ---------- */
Women and children are the primary victims of the Asian crisis says the ILO
From ICFTU Online..., 187/991008/ND
11 October 1999
Brussels, 11 October 1999 (ICFTU OnLine): Women and children were the
hardest hit by the recent economic crisis in Asia, the most serious the
region has known in the last 50 years. That is the conclusion of a
report published this week in Manila by the International Labour Office
(ILO) a report which will serve as the basis for discussions at the
regional consultation on the follow-up to the UNs 4th World Women's
Conference which has just closed in Manila.
The collapse of the region's economies left more women out of work than
The women who did keep their jobs had to make do with lower wages.
This study shows "just how vulnerable women are" in a region where
"millions of women are under-paid and under-employed, while millions of
others work without being paid at all", stresses ILO regional director
In general, the report confirms, women's employment is "low-skilled and
badly paid". They are usually in dreary jobs, in a limited number of
sectors and occupations at the bottom of the employment ladder. The
report also points to the importance of part-time work for women in the
Although situations vary greatly between countries, the figures show
that "the situation of women has deteriorated far more than that of
men" says Roger Bhning, the ILO's director for south-east Asia and the
Pacific. In South Korea, for example, the proportion of women workers
has fallen by 4.4% since the beginning of the crisis, while the
proportion of male workers has remained "virtually constant". "Among
the employees on a permanent contract, women's employment has fallen
sharply, by about 20%, showing a higher rate of withdrawal from the
labour market, while male employment has only fallen by 6%" notes the
In the Philippines, women's unemployment increased by 15% while the
increase for men was 12%.
In Thailand and Indonesia, on the other hand, there is not such a clear
difference between the sexes in the impact on jobs and wages. It seems
that "women's estimated income has fallen less than men's, which
suggests that enterprises have been replacing men by lower-paid
In Indonesia, fewer women than men are affected by unemployment. But
in the towns and countryside, "women's income has fallen much further
than men's, by 6% and 4% respectively" says the study.
The situation of the 70 million or so Asian women who have emigrated,
to find themselves all too often in precarious jobs with no form of
social protection is also examined in this report. While there were
fewer women migrants in 1995, women now make up the majority of the
legal emigrants leaving countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines
and Sri Lanka.
According to the Indonesia authorities, there were five women migrants
for every male migrant from this country in 1998 and 1999, compared to
three men for every two women in 1983-1984.
On top of the negative impact on women's employment, the crisis seems
to have sent a lot of children out of school and "pushed many more
girls than boys into work", underlines the ILO. More than three out of
five child workers are to be found in the developing Asian countries,
representing a total of 153 million children, of whom 46% are girls.
Since Asia's financial and economic crises broke out in the summer of
1997, the ICFTU has persistently denounced the devastation this crisis
has caused, hitting hardest at the most vulnerable, be they women,
children, youth or migrant workers. As part of the preparations for
the ICFTU's 7th World Women's Conference in Brazil last May, the
organisation published a study on the impact of the financial and
economic crisis on women (*). While pointing an accusing finger at the
governments directly involved in the crisis, noting specifically the
link between their economic difficulties and their serious shortcomings
in terms of democracy and social dialogue, the ICFTU also denounces the
human waste resulting from the containment measures set in place by the
Bretton Woods institutions and calls for a "modernisation of the
institutions and rules which govern world markets".
On the eve of the opening of the WTO's "millenium round" in Seattle
next November, the ICFTU is also fighting for core labour standards,
including the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women,
to be integrated into the new rules governing international trade.
(*) From Asia to Russia to Brazil...the impact of the financial and
economic crisis on women" ICFTU, 7th ICFTU World Women's Conference,
Rio de Janeiro, 18-21/5/1999.
Contact: ICFTU-Press at: ++32-2 224.02.12 (Brussels). For more
information, visit our website at: (http://www.icftu.org).