Vulnerable women and neo-liberal globalization: Debt burdens undermine women's health in the global South

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • Alison M. Jaggar

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Colorado at Boulder


Contemporary processes of globalization have been accompanied by a serious deterioration in the health of many women across the world. Particularly disturbing is the drastic decline in the health status of many women in the global South, as well as some women in the global North. This paper argues that health vulnerability of women in the global South is inseparable from their political and economic vulnerability. More specifically, it links the deteriorating health of many Southern women with the neo-liberal economic policies that characterize contemporary economic globalization and argues that this structure is sustained by the heavy burden of debt repayments imposed on many Southern countries. In conclusion, it argues that many Southern debt obligations are not morally binding because they are not democratically legitimate.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-440
Number of pages16
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Debt cancellation, Gender inequality, Neoliberalism, Women's health