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Title:Gender Discrimination Re-Conceptualized as Market Distortion: A Critique of World Bank Structural Adjustment Theory for Sub-Saharan Africa
Author:Wilson, J. ZoeISNI
Periodical:Scandinavian Journal of Development Alternatives and Area Studies
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:gender relations
economic policy
Women's Issues
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Abstract:Conventionally, the term 'market distortion' is used to signify macroeconomic or political phenomena which interfere with 'natural market processes' leading to declines in standard economic indicators. Structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) are implemented in order to remove these market distortions. However, in many sub-Saharan African economies currently undergoing World Bank structural adjustment, discriminatory laws and male-biased development processes are interfering with economic development in the same way as market distortions - in the sense that artificial barriers between women and economic prosperity are created and maintained. Such 'gender distortion' is evident in the relationship between women and market failures in agricultural sectors, the effect SAPs have on women's labour time and the consequences of this for the reproduction and maintenance of human resources, and the growing numbers of women who choose to move into the informal sectors. By fostering and sanctioning women's marginalization, the World Bank is subverting its own goals. By its own free-market standards, the World Bank must consider that economic stagnation in sub-Saharan Africa will continue until gender equity issues are resolved. Bibliogr., sum.