Equality between women and men has to be a key element in the development of anti- crisis measures and policies, since the financial crisis is starting to take hold in sectors dominated by female workers and rates of violence against women are increasing. A gendered analysis is required in order to understand the depth and scope of the crisis, as well as to design appropriate responses. However, in addition to the challenges, the economic crisis is also presenting opportunities for women’s empowerment and leadership, as has been seen already in countries in which women have emerged as leaders.
Although the legacy of the ongoing financial crisis will be gloomy, it may also have another legacy in that crucial ideas about human rights can no longer be dismissed. The crisis presents a historic opportunity – and a generational responsibility – to rethink decision-making in economic policy. A human rights-based approach calls for a reform of governance structures to ensure that all economic policy is carried out in accordance with the human rights regime. This will ensure participation at all levels, subjecting decisions to public scrutiny, transparency and accountability at every step.
This Social Watch Report goes to print in September 2009, a year after the US Government failed to rescue Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. The collapse of this global investment bank marked the peak of a crisis that started at the epicenter of globalized finance on Wall Street and soon spread to national economies everywhere.
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