ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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SAVING RATE-Negative Impact of Financial Liberalisation

women's equality appears to be poised at a critical juncture. While the first approaches to the struggle did not deny the bias against women in the economic roots of society, they focused on the changes required in the ways of seeing and ways of thinking. This radical reconstruction of the worldview appears today to have been adopted, but in fact it is only the rhetoric which is in place. For gender equality is a facet of economic growth which premises equality not only in terms of the gains of development but in allowing for participation in defining the processes and goals of development. This has not happened and, worse, there is evidence that given the prescriptions being proposed, there will be even less change in that direction. While the idea that economic growth is not a sufficient condition for ensuring women's equality is widely accepted, the fact that expansion of economic opportunities for all is a precondition for ensuring women's empowerment has been ignored. The HDR 1995, for instance, while it advocates various changes to increase women's entitlements, ensure a critical threshold for decision-making positions to be held by women and increase educational opportunities for women, has only this to say in terms of revamping the economic and institutional arrangements: encourage men to participate in family care, offer flexible work schedules, change tax and social security incentives, and change laws on property, inheritance and divorce. To seek special concessions in an environment where opportunities for employment, for increasing purchasing power, for accessing basic necessities are being squeezed is ridiculous and pointless. In fact certain kinds of growth being advocated are designed to make the situation worse for women. The WDR 1995'S emphatic recommendation that countries pursue market-based growth paths, take advantage of new opportunities at the international level by opening up trade and encouraging export-oriented growth, even while acknowledging that these movements will cause further social distress, even if only in the interim, will in the long run squeeze opportunities for equal participation in economic growth. More significantly, such a prescription makes it imperative that vulnerable sections be offered protection. Defining women as the most vulnerable of those who need to be protected from the 'interim' distress is politically safe and takes care of the demands of the women's movement. Thus in a sense there is change waiting in the wings, change which will move women towards the goal of equality, but it will be ephemeral, for it will only facilitate the consolidation of an inegalitarian economic and political system and will in time erode the current gains for women.

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