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Women and Neoliberalism-Historical Background PowerPoint Presentation
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Women and Neoliberalism-Historical Background

Women and Neoliberalism-Historical Background

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Women and Neoliberalism-Historical Background

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  1. Women and Neoliberalism-Historical Background • Why called neoliberal? • With the return of democracy in Latin America in the 1980s, governments had to deal with a series of economic crises: • Newly elected governments tried to deal with a decline in the economies of Latin America by borrowing more money • Economic problems caused by many factors: decreased production and export, the high cost of petroleum as a result of the oil crisis of the 1970s • Unemployment increased along with underemployment • As Latin American countries asked for more loans, European and US lenders began to ask for structural reforms

  2. Structural Reforms • Reduction in State Expenditures • Sell off inefficient state owned enterprises--privatization • Fire unproductive workers • Eliminate subsidies for consumers canasta familiar and end fixed prices • Privatize social welfare institutions • Trade liberalization • Eliminate tariff barriers • Reduce tariffs • Deregulation of the economy

  3. Impact on Latin America • Increased the percentage of poor people from 35% in 1980 to 41% in 1990 • Impact varied from country to country, but Chile most affected because both military and later democratic governments had long advocated neo-liberal policies-during 1980s percentage of poor people rose to more than 40% • Another way to explain impact—top 10% of the population earned 45% of income while bottom 5% earned 4% of GNP • Rich getting richer while poor getting poorer. • At the same time the debt is piling up.

  4. Impact on women • More women have to get into the labor force to support their families especially if men are laid off • Older women and widows more often poorer than other groups in Latin American and elsewhere—”feminization of poverty” • Women have to devise new economic strategies to feed and clothe the family • Women have to deal with emotional costs of neoliberalism such as the rise in marital violence

  5. How to define poverty • Absolute vs. relative poverty • Absolute poverty refers to people living without basic things like food and shelter • Relative poverty refers to comparisons of groups based on income, access to work, shelter, food, etc. • How to measure poverty • Often defined in terms of caloric intake as well as access to food, shelter, etc. • How do you define minimum levels of survival • Based on income needed to provide basic caloric needs • What is a poverty line? • Economic measurement used by governments to define minimally acceptable standards • Implicitly it accepts a percentage of people who fall below this

  6. Reproductive vs. Productive Labor • If women must leave the home to work, who takes care of the children? • Few Latin American states offered family planning—Mexico only began in 1974 • How do women shop and prepare food and work at the same time? • How did the elimination of price controls affect women? • Impact on children

  7. Social Movements and Neoliberalism • Women did not accept the impact of neoliberalism without challenging it • Many social movements were responses to neoliberalism: organization of soup kitchens, neighborhood movements, demand for better health care etc. • Middle class women also impacted by neoliberalism as their incomes rapidly disappeared—different strategies: Continental feminist meetings as well as UN sponsored meetings dealt with these issues to pressure governments • Rise of NGO’s- Non Governmental Organization

  8. New Kinds of Political Demonstrations • Women involved in takeovers of government buildings • Women marched to protest economic policies • Women became picketers (picoteras)-block off major highways to protest unemployment, political corruption, economic policies

  9. Argentine women protesting bank closures in 2001

  10. Women joined barter clubs

  11. Women Picking Garbage Guatemala

  12. Other Garbage Pickers

  13. Women outside Latin America protest Neoliberalism and World Bank