NEWS:Asia Crisis Said Worst on Females

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Subject: NEWS:Asia Crisis Said Worst on Females
From: Jyothi Kanics (
Date: Thu Jan 21 1999 - 17:52:41 EST

Thursday January 21, 11:22 am Eastern Time

Asia Crisis Said Worst on Females

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Women and girls in Southeast
Asia have been the hardest hit by regional recession, losing jobs,
health care and school opportunities, the U.N. Population Fund
said Thursday.

Many women have turned to prostitution to feed their families as
factory jobs have become scarce, the U.N. agency said, but they earn less
since their clients are
also feeling the economic pinch and have little money to spend.

Citing a recent report carried out with the Australian National University,
the Population Fund
examined the effects of the 18-month crisis on reproductive health,
education and employment of
women in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Mass unemployment has created a ``new poor,'' the Population Fund said.
Unemployment is up
and so is the number of school dropouts, with girls the most disadvantaged.

The recession has been especially hard on single mothers or women with heavy

Women turning to prostitution, meanwhile, are likely to have limited
education and resources and
fail to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

In Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a clinic treating sexually transmitted diseases
and AIDS reported that the
number of patients had doubled in the nine-month period surveyed, the report

Such health services are under pressure from government cutbacks. The Thai
health ministry cut its
AIDS budget by 24.7 percent in 1998 compared to 5.5 percent in non-AIDS
allocations, the
study said.

Reduced access to reproductive health care appears to be leading to
back-alley abortions to end
unwanted pregnancy, the report said.

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