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A Human Rights Approach

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As many developing countries are facing increasingly higher levels of debt and economic instability, this interdisciplinary volume explores the intersection of sovereign debt and women's human rights.

Through contributions from leading voices in academia, civil society, international organisations and nations governments, it shows how debt-related economic policies are widening gender inequalities and argues for a systematic feminist approach to debt issues.

Offering a new perspective on the global debt crisis, this is an invaluable resource for readers who seek to understand the complex relationship between economics and gender.

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This chapter studies what the so-called ‘gender bonds’ are, how they work, the economic ideas that support them and which actors promote these gender bonds that have in the last years had an exponential growth, deepening the general phenomenon of financialization. Moreover, the authors critically analyze the limitations, contradictions and problems that these type of bonds pose that – in theory – tend to reduce gender inequalities and promote women’s rights through public policies and projects financed by investors that in turn generate profits, but at the end of the day, according to the authors, are ‘another brick on the neoliberal wall’.

Open access

‘Is feminist sovereign debt a utopia or an oxymoron?’ the editors ask in the introduction to this book. This volume broadens and strengthens a feminist approach to the challenges posed by sovereign over-indebtedness of low and middle-income countries and debt-related androcentric economic policies to women’s human rights. Contributors address questions regarding sovereign debt and gender economic violence, development, climate change, legal standards, United Nations developments, including world and regional UN conferences on women, international financial institutions’ (IMF and World Bank) androcentric policies, the right to care and the right to education, private indebtedness, budget and debt (and life) sustainability analyses with gender perspective, social progress indicators, feminist reforms of the international financial architecture, gender bonds and the institutionalization of a gender approach in the public debt field.

These questions need to be tackled collectively and pluralistically. Hence contributors come from several social science disciplines, from a number of countries and regions, and from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, the United Nations and civil society organizations.

As Diane Elson writes in the foreword to this book, ‘this innovative book shows the benefits of a feminist approach to the sovereign debt crisis because it goes well beyond a concern with increasing economic growth to pose as a key test: what will reforms mean for poor women? Will their debt distress be ended? Will their human rights be fulfilled? Everyone should be in no doubt that sovereign debt is a feminist issue’.

Open access

‘Is feminist sovereign debt a utopia or an oxymoron?’ the editors ask in the introduction to this book. This volume broadens and strengthens a feminist approach to the challenges posed by sovereign over-indebtedness of low and middle-income countries and debt-related androcentric economic policies to women’s human rights. Contributors address questions regarding sovereign debt and gender economic violence, development, climate change, legal standards, United Nations developments, including world and regional UN conferences on women, international financial institutions’ (IMF and World Bank) androcentric policies, the right to care and the right to education, private indebtedness, budget and debt (and life) sustainability analyses with gender perspective, social progress indicators, feminist reforms of the international financial architecture, gender bonds and the institutionalization of a gender approach in the public debt field.

These questions need to be tackled collectively and pluralistically. Hence contributors come from several social science disciplines, from a number of countries and regions, and from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, the United Nations and civil society organizations.

As Diane Elson writes in the foreword to this book, ‘this innovative book shows the benefits of a feminist approach to the sovereign debt crisis because it goes well beyond a concern with increasing economic growth to pose as a key test: what will reforms mean for poor women? Will their debt distress be ended? Will their human rights be fulfilled? Everyone should be in no doubt that sovereign debt is a feminist issue’.

Open access

This chapter contains the letter sent in 2022 to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the holders of special mandates in the United Nations (Independent Expert on external debt and human rights, Special Rapporteur on the right to development, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and the Working Group on the issue of Discrimination against Women and Girls) in the context of the consultations this credit agency was making on its announced ‘gender strategy’. Although mandate holders recognize the importance of a strategy in this field, they warn that the approach would be focused ‘on the macrocritical factors of gender gaps, in line with the IMF mandate’, and that, on the contrary, a gender strategy of the IMF implemented with an approach of human rights should recognize the differential roles women and girls have in our societies, demand the performance of gender-responsive impact assessments of loans and reforms, as well as address the obstacles women and girls face because of their sex and gender. The letter also shows that a strategy with a human rights approach would imply excluding austerity requirements that the IMF continues to recommend, even in the context of the pandemic crisis. As of December 2023, the IMF has not yet replied to the letter.

Open access

‘Is feminist sovereign debt a utopia or an oxymoron?’ the editors ask in the introduction to this book. This volume broadens and strengthens a feminist approach to the challenges posed by sovereign over-indebtedness of low and middle-income countries and debt-related androcentric economic policies to women’s human rights. Contributors address questions regarding sovereign debt and gender economic violence, development, climate change, legal standards, United Nations developments, including world and regional UN conferences on women, international financial institutions’ (IMF and World Bank) androcentric policies, the right to care and the right to education, private indebtedness, budget and debt (and life) sustainability analyses with gender perspective, social progress indicators, feminist reforms of the international financial architecture, gender bonds and the institutionalization of a gender approach in the public debt field.

These questions need to be tackled collectively and pluralistically. Hence contributors come from several social science disciplines, from a number of countries and regions, and from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, the United Nations and civil society organizations.

As Diane Elson writes in the foreword to this book, ‘this innovative book shows the benefits of a feminist approach to the sovereign debt crisis because it goes well beyond a concern with increasing economic growth to pose as a key test: what will reforms mean for poor women? Will their debt distress be ended? Will their human rights be fulfilled? Everyone should be in no doubt that sovereign debt is a feminist issue’.

Open access

‘Is feminist sovereign debt a utopia or an oxymoron?’ the editors ask in the introduction to this book. This volume broadens and strengthens a feminist approach to the challenges posed by sovereign over-indebtedness of low and middle-income countries and debt-related androcentric economic policies to women’s human rights. Contributors address questions regarding sovereign debt and gender economic violence, development, climate change, legal standards, United Nations developments, including world and regional UN conferences on women, international financial institutions’ (IMF and World Bank) androcentric policies, the right to care and the right to education, private indebtedness, budget and debt (and life) sustainability analyses with gender perspective, social progress indicators, feminist reforms of the international financial architecture, gender bonds and the institutionalization of a gender approach in the public debt field.

These questions need to be tackled collectively and pluralistically. Hence contributors come from several social science disciplines, from a number of countries and regions, and from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, the United Nations and civil society organizations.

As Diane Elson writes in the foreword to this book, ‘this innovative book shows the benefits of a feminist approach to the sovereign debt crisis because it goes well beyond a concern with increasing economic growth to pose as a key test: what will reforms mean for poor women? Will their debt distress be ended? Will their human rights be fulfilled? Everyone should be in no doubt that sovereign debt is a feminist issue’.

Open access

‘Is feminist sovereign debt a utopia or an oxymoron?’ the editors ask in the introduction to this book. This volume broadens and strengthens a feminist approach to the challenges posed by sovereign over-indebtedness of low and middle-income countries and debt-related androcentric economic policies to women’s human rights. Contributors address questions regarding sovereign debt and gender economic violence, development, climate change, legal standards, United Nations developments, including world and regional UN conferences on women, international financial institutions’ (IMF and World Bank) androcentric policies, the right to care and the right to education, private indebtedness, budget and debt (and life) sustainability analyses with gender perspective, social progress indicators, feminist reforms of the international financial architecture, gender bonds and the institutionalization of a gender approach in the public debt field.

These questions need to be tackled collectively and pluralistically. Hence contributors come from several social science disciplines, from a number of countries and regions, and from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, the United Nations and civil society organizations.

As Diane Elson writes in the foreword to this book, ‘this innovative book shows the benefits of a feminist approach to the sovereign debt crisis because it goes well beyond a concern with increasing economic growth to pose as a key test: what will reforms mean for poor women? Will their debt distress be ended? Will their human rights be fulfilled? Everyone should be in no doubt that sovereign debt is a feminist issue’.

Open access

‘Is feminist sovereign debt a utopia or an oxymoron?’ the editors ask in the introduction to this book. This volume broadens and strengthens a feminist approach to the challenges posed by sovereign over-indebtedness of low and middle-income countries and debt-related androcentric economic policies to women’s human rights. Contributors address questions regarding sovereign debt and gender economic violence, development, climate change, legal standards, United Nations developments, including world and regional UN conferences on women, international financial institutions’ (IMF and World Bank) androcentric policies, the right to care and the right to education, private indebtedness, budget and debt (and life) sustainability analyses with gender perspective, social progress indicators, feminist reforms of the international financial architecture, gender bonds and the institutionalization of a gender approach in the public debt field.

These questions need to be tackled collectively and pluralistically. Hence contributors come from several social science disciplines, from a number of countries and regions, and from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, the United Nations and civil society organizations.

As Diane Elson writes in the foreword to this book, ‘this innovative book shows the benefits of a feminist approach to the sovereign debt crisis because it goes well beyond a concern with increasing economic growth to pose as a key test: what will reforms mean for poor women? Will their debt distress be ended? Will their human rights be fulfilled? Everyone should be in no doubt that sovereign debt is a feminist issue’.

Open access

This chapter identifies and systematizes the international and Inter-American legal standards regarding human rights in the field of sovereign debt from a gender perspective. In its analysis, this piece includes the standards applicable to borrower States and public and private creditors, and their implications in terms of specific obligations, for both debtors and creditors, for instance, in the field of debt restructurings and the impact assessment of debt, as well as the economic reforms for gender equality. The authors argue that this topic is much more developed in the international field than in the Inter-American one, while they indicate the importance of advancing on feminist reforms in the area of the international financial architecture that enable an equal transformation of societies.

Open access