The global financial crisis: whither women's health?

Katia Mohindra, Ronald Labonte, Denise Spitzer

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    The global integration of trade and financial markets that has been the hallmark of the past 30 years of neoliberal globalization means that local economies can be shaped by economic events seemingly unrelated to the scale or geography where women's empowerment projects unfold. These global-local interactions raise questions so far largely absent in public discussions of the 2008 crisis precipitated by the US sub-prime loan scandal: what are the gendered effects of global financial crises; specifically, how do these crises affect women? And how do these market crises intersect with the non-market activities that are key to understanding gendered health issues in developing countries. This article addresses these questions by reviewing the literature on gendered health impacts of financial crises over the past two decades. We find that the manner in which national governments and the broader international community react to crises can either magnify (as illustrated through the impacts of structural adjustment programmes on women's health) or mitigate (as illustrated through the policies pursued following the loss of support from the collapsed Soviet Union on Cuban women's health) gendered health-negative effects. Lack of attention to gender-specific consequences of past crises or health-positive interventions into such crises has weakened the ability to advance policy advice on protecting women's health during the present crisis. The article concludes with a gender-focused critique of the dominant policy responses to the 2008 financial crisis and a call to undertake real-time investigation of gendered health risks and opportunities arising from the present crisis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)273-287
    Number of pages15
    JournalCritical Public Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


    • Economic crises
    • Global financial crisis
    • Women's health


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