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Human Rights Quarterly. 1997; 19:630-665.It is now well-established that structural adjustment and stabilization policies (SAPs) undertaken in developing countries to receive condition-based loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have exacerbated conditions of poverty and deprivation for large sections of the population. Several commentators have also shown that these macroeconomic policies are not class-neutral or gender-neutral. The World Bank's emphasis on "safety nets" to cushion the poor from the impact of orthodox stabilization and adjustment policies is an admission that these policies do not affect all sections of the population equally. The human and social costs of adjustment have evoked growing concern and unease at the United Nations, among governments, and among some donors. These concerns arise out of the institutionalization of the market model of economic growth that has made such growth synonymous with the dominant view of "development," although it does not favor equity, sustainability, or redistribution of wealth and resources. Recent UN conferences, most notably the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995 and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995, have highlighted the ways in which such economic policies have focused on debt repayment by developing countries at the cost of human development. Specialized UN agencies, such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), have also pointed to the growing human and economic inequalities caused by market driven growth and stressed the need to protect the vulnerable, women in particular, from marginalization. (excerpt)
Ending the marginalization: strategies for incorporating women into the United Nations Human Rights System.
Human Rights Quarterly. 1997; 19:283-333.Women's rights are human rights. The failure of the United Nations human rights system to address adequately the concerns of women became a rallying point at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna Conference). For the first time ever, the international community openly acknowledged that the body of international laws and mechanisms established to promote and protect human rights had not properly taken into account the concerns of over half the world's population. In the final document of the Vienna Conference, states formally recognized the human rights of women to be "an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights." They further demanded that "the equal status of women and the human rights of women . . . be integrated into the mainstream of United Nations system-wide activity" and "form an integral part of the United Nations human rights activities." These calls were repeated, in stronger terms and in greater detail, some two years later at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing Conference). (excerpt)
POPULI. 1997 May-Jun; 24(2):6-7.Thousands of women worldwide are tricked, obliged, or abducted and sold into bondage and servitude as prostitutes, domestic workers, exploited workers or wives. They are often forced to live and work in conditions similar to slavery. The exploitation of women's bodies and labor has created an international trade system with women going from countries experiencing structural adjustment and/or deforestation to countries with better living standards. Technology, such as the internet, has allowed traders to conduct and expand their business internationally. The International Organization for Migration reports that the trade in women is caused by poverty, the lack of viable economic opportunities, the difference in wealth between countries, and the marginalization of women in their countries of origin. The promotion of tourism as a development strategy has also contributed by encouraging the trade in women for prostitution.