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Girls & Women 'Bearing the Brunt' of Global Recession


23 January 2013 at 9:54 am
Staff Reporter
Girls and women are being hardest hit by the global economic recession, according to research released by children’s rights organisations.


Staff Reporter | 23 January 2013 at 9:54 am


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Girls & Women 'Bearing the Brunt' of Global Recession
23 January 2013 at 9:54 am

Picture: Plan International

Girls and women are being hardest hit by the global economic recession, according to research released by children’s rights organisations.

The report by Plan International and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) says a combination of factors have left girls and their families bearing the brunt of fewer resources, reduced access to basic services and less social ‘safety nets’.

It says long standing economic trends, entrenched gender inequality and austerity budgets have impacted survival rates, development – including education and employment, and protection from violence, neglect and abuse.

The impacts are likely to reverse gains made in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the research concludes.

The report says family poverty hits girls hardest – with only a 1% fall in GDP increasing infant mortality by 7.4 deaths per 1,000 girls versus 1.5 for boys.

The findings also indicate that food shortages and malnutrition are more common among girls than boys. Women also reduce their own food consumption to become ‘shock absorbers’ for household security.

It says as women go out to work longer hours for less money, more girls are pushed out of school and into filling the gaps at home with domestic work, into hazardous child labour or even transactional sex.

Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman said of the findings: “It is little surprise that the most vulnerable suffer more in times of austerity but to see the impact in higher mortality rates, reduced life expectancy, less opportunities and greater risks for girls and boys is stark.

“The world is failing girls and women. They need more targeted support in social protection, job creation and education if we are to turn the tide of this trend and close this unacceptable and growing gap.”

“History teaches us that economic crises disproportionately affect women and girls, and the current global downturn is no exception,” ODI Research Fellow and author of the report, Nicola Jones said.

“Once again, economic trends combined with entrenched gender inequality and austerity budgets have left girls and their families with fewer resources and less access to basic services. As a result, girls’ fundamental human rights are increasingly under threat."

Key points:

  • Girls drop out of school more – with 29% decrease in primary school completion for girls versus 22% for boys.
  • Family poverty hits girls hardest- a 1% fall in GDP increases infant mortality by 7.4 deaths per 1000 births for girls versus 1.5 for boys.
  • Health cuts leave adolescent girls at greater risk during pregnancy with 14-19 year olds most at risk of death in pregnancy in many countries.

Policy recommendations:

  • Ensure international feeding programmes target girls and young women who are often last recipients when food is scarce
  • Better social protection programmes to keep girls in school
  • Job creation programmes to stimulate young women and girls’ employment

For a full copy to the report go to: www.plan-international.org/economicreport



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