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Impact of the financial and economic crisis on women and families

UN Malaysia Public Lecture: 
International Day of Families • 15 May 2009

Emerging risks for women and families against backdrop of the global financial crisis 
The United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Dr. Noeleen Heyzer will deliver a public lecture titled, “The Impact of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Women and Families” to assess the vulnerability of women and families against the backdrop of the current financial crisis.

    Date:     Monday, 11 May 2009
    Time:    6:00 pm (cocktails) • 7:00 pm (lecture) 
    Venue:  Renaissance Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL

The current crisis, in addition to the recent food and fuel price volatility, which continues to affect the poor in developing countries, will have serious and long-term gender-specific consequences for women and children in developing countries in the region.

Historically, periods of economic recession have placed a disproportionate burden on women, and they are often exposed to greater risk of violence and domestic abuse in times of hardship, when their economic and social rights may also be jeopardised.

The informal sectors of Asian economies, such as tourism, textiles and garments, and trade and retail, with a high concentration of female workers, are already among the hardest hit. The UN predicts that workers are not only likely to lose their jobs, but their wage income is also likely to decline substantially.

UN estimates the number of unemployed in the region will go up to 94 million in 2009, while some 60 million people will be pushed into poverty this year as growth in Asia decelerates significantly due to the global financial crisis.

Entrance is free but seats are limited.

To register, please contact
    Ms. Linda Tham:
    Tel:    +6032091 5116


© Willa Shalit
Dr. Noeleen Heyzer

Dr. Noeleen Heyzer is the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.  She is the first woman to occupy the position.  Since taking office, Dr. Heyzer has championed institutional change and development effectiveness positioning ESCAP as the regional hub assisting countries to build the economic and social foundations for inclusive and sustainable societies in the Asia Pacific region.

Before her appointment to ESCAP, Dr. Heyzer was the first Executive Director from the South to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).  She has served on numerous boards and advisory committees of international organizations.  She has received several awards for leadership, including the UNA-Harvard Leadership Award, the Woman of Distinction Award from the UN-NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Women of the Year Award (2007) by the Singapore Press Holdings and many others.  In recognition of her contribution to women, peace and justice, Dr. Heyzer was among the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

ABOUT UN in Malaysia
The UN Country Team in Malaysia is dedicated to developing sustainable and rights-based development to empower women, men and children, especially in the poorest and most vulnerable communities, to lead better lives; free of poverty, violence, HIV and AIDS. We are guided by the principles and values of the UN Charter, the Millennium Development Goals and other fundamental UN system instruments that include the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The UN in Malaysia works closely with the Government of Malaysia in support of the country’s national development priorities.

ABOUT International Day of Families
The International Day of Families was established by the United Nations to celebrate families, to promote awareness of issues relating to families as basic units of society, as well as, to advocate for appropriate action in support of families. The day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 47/237 of 20 September 1993.  2009 is the 15th Anniversary of the International Day of Families and will be observed under the banner of "Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World".





UN Malaysia




Aggregate shocks, poor households and children, 2009. Read


Conference report: Impact of the economic crisis on children, 2009. Read


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