[Documents menu] Documents menu
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 23:15:05 -0500 (CDT)
From: Debra Floyd <dfloyd@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Asian Economic Crisis: Asian Women & Children Victims
Organization: ?
Article: 80185
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.28222.19991024091540@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/* Written 10:47 PM Oct 17, 1999 by labornews@igc.org 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 men.

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 Mitsuko Horiuchi.

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 region.

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 report.

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 women".

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).

[World History Archives]     [Gateway to World History]     [Images from World History]     [Hartford Web Publishing]