The position of women and changing multilateral policies.
Contemporary multilateral loan agreements to developing nations, unlike previous project and program aid, have often been contingent upon the effective implementation of structural adjustment programs of market liberalization and macroeconomic policy redirection. These programs herald such reform as necessary steps on the road to economic growth and development. Price decontrol and policy change may also, however, generate the more immediate and undesirable effects of exacerbated urban sector bias and plummeting income and quality of life in the general population. This paper considers the resultant changes expected in the political arena, product and input pricing, small business promotion and formation, export crop production, interest rate policy reform and financial market deregulation, exchange rate and public sector expenditure, and the labor market, and their effect upon women's economic position. The author notes, however, that women are not affected uniformly by these changes and sectoral disruptions, but that some women will suffer more than others. To develop policy to effectively meet the needs of these target groups, more subpopulation specificity is required. Approaches useful in identifying vulnerable women in particular societies are explored. Once identified, these women, especially those who head poor households, should be afforded protection against the turbulence and short- to medium-term economic decline associated with adjustment.