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Fridays Academy: Gender and Macroeconomic Management

Ignacio Hernandez's picture

From Raj Nallari and Breda Griffith's lecture notes. This week we finish our series on Gender and Macroeconomic Management.


Empirical Evidence on Impact of Globalization on Women (and IV)


Gender differences during financial crises

There is some evidence from United States and some developing countries that women are more risk averse than men in investing their pension contributions (Bajtelsmit and Bernasek, 1996; Bajtelsmit and Van Derhei, 1997; Hinz, McCarthy and Turner, 1996). While studies on gender impact of financial crises are limited, evidence from both Indonesia and the Philippines show that as men became unemployed, the amount of work done by women increased (women as shock absorbers).  Frankenberg, Thomas and Beegle (1999) estimated that during the financial crises of 1997-98 in Indonesia, employment decreased by 1.3 per cent for women, while for women it increased by 1 per cent.  When unpaid work is also included, there is an increase for both men and women, but for men the increase is only 1.3 per cent, while for women it is 7 per cent.  During the financial crisis of South Korea in 1997-98, employment declined by 3.8 per cent for men and 7.1 per cent for women (Lee and Rhee, 1999).

Gender and Migration

Traditionally, cross-country migrants have traditionally been men, but in more recent years, there is a “feminization of migration.” Women migrants tend to (i) participate in the lower-paid jobs, such as domestic workers, hospitality service providers; and (ii) earn less than their male counterparts for the same job (with the same education and skills).  As men tend to earn more than women, they tend to remit larger amounts, primarily to their wives for taking care of children, and also for local income-generation activities.  In contrast, women often remit a greater proportion of their (lower) income and tend to remit not only for the benefit of their immediate family but also to a to a wider range of relatives, and is essentially for “family needs,” including education and health.  While men tend to migrate abroad because of high unemployment rates locally, while women migrate to acquire a great level of power within the household. The World Bank estimates that in 2004 almost US$124 billion is officially remitted by migrants (twice as much as official development assistance).  About 50% of Latin American migrant senders are women while 75% of Filipino and Indonesian migrant senders in Southeast Asia are women and 40% of Ghanaian and Nigerian senders in the U.S. are women.  About 50% of Central Asian migrants are women.  Policy recommendations include the need for lowering transaction costs for  sending and receiving migrant remittances and providing incentives for households to save and invest a large proportion of remittances.


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