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The articles in Women and Economic Policy are centred around two main themes: macroeconomic policy and gender relations; and income generation projects and women’s empowerment. In many countries of the South, the introduction of structural adjustment policies to address the problem of mounting international debt has had a profoundly damaging effect on poor women and their families. Many of the writers describe the pressures on women’s time and energy which result from reductions in government social services. Increasingly, women have become the “coping mechanism’ with which societies deal with economic problems. Yet their vital contribution to the economy often goes unrecognised. The ‘invisibility’ of women’s work is another major issue referred to by several authors. Covering a wide range of countries, the articles look at many different aspects of women’s lives, the effects of economic policies, and how women are adapting and organising to enable their families and communities to survive. In a very real sense, all economic issues are women’s issues, and a focus on gender will lead to a clearer economic analysis and more effective economic policies.

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