The gender dimension of economic transition in Mongolia

The gender dimension of economic transition in Mongolia

What gender-related issues have emerged as a result of transition in Mongolia?

This article asks two questions in relation to the abrupt political and economic transitions in Mongolia: Firstly, why does gender matter in economics? Secondly, what gender-related issues have emerged as a result of transition in Mongolia?

The article concludes that:

  • economic transition has changed the nature of male and female participation in the Mongolian economy. Both groups have experienced greater job insecurity, reduction of state employment and the need for new skills and ways of generating income
  • similar rates of unemployment exist for males and females, though slightly higher for females; this difference is, however, smaller than in other transitional economies
  • for both men and women, there have been declines in health and an increase in social problems
  • gender differences have emerged which mirror the experience of women in other transitional economies to some extent
  • transition in Mongolia has eroded women’s previous status, economic security, levels of reproductive health, and participation in public life
  • women have less influence in policy-making bodies and forums than they had before transition
  • transition increased womens' workloads, particularly nomadic and rural women
  • women have benefited less than men in the acquisition of assets from privatisation and this has affected their power to raise credit and loans for micro-economic enterprises and self-employment,resulting in fewer opportunities
  • the boundaries between male and female roles in family and work are shifting. In pre-transition Mongolia, the state supported women in child-bearing and child-care through generous benefits and day-care services. This helped to shape male roles and perceptions of them. Withdrawal of state support and changes in family earning patterns have de-stabilised familiar male and female roles in this respect. For women, their roles as ‘care givers’ has expanded while their need to earn wages for the household economy has also increased
  • rebalancing male-female roles is currently in process however barriers to change are institutionalised in families and organisations, though not the law
  • the costs and opportunities of the transition process in Mongolia are being unevenly shared so far
  • female participation in education, including higher education, is higher than that of males

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