Gendered Austerity in the COVID-19 Era: A Survey of Fiscal Consolidation in Ecuador and Pakistan

Published in 2022 by Third World Network

Based on interviews and focus group discussions with women across Ecuador and Pakistan, the paper examines the dynamics and implications of gendered austerity in Ecuador and Pakistan in the context of the IMF loan programmes and fiscal consolidation frameworks in both countries. In Ecuador, austerity affects women's lives through sharp budget cuts to the public health sector, increases in consumer debt in order to access healthcare and increases in unpaid care and family support labour. In Pakistan, a combination of regressive taxation and commodity price increases takes a toll on women’s lives through income loss, increased unpaid care labour and time poverty, diminished physical and mental health, and depletion of vital social and community networks.

Recommendations include transforming fiscal policy design toward feminist fiscal governance, progressive taxation and global tax cooperation, debt restructuring and reformulating the Debt Sustainability Assessment, fiscal space creation, intersectional movement building between economic justice and gender equality social movements as well as collaboration between feminist economists and feminist policy advocates and activists.

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