HEADLINE: Critics say globalization failing to ease problems of Third World. Globalization has failed Africa -- and the West has a moral duty to right this wrong, says Canada's secretary of state for Africa.

"Africa, in my view, is the forgotten continent," Denis Paradis says, sitting in his office overlooking the Ottawa River. "It's unbelievable, the number of people dying every day. "(Under globalization) the countries that are rich are getting richer and richer, while other countries are getting poorer.

"We should do something . . . to make sure the gap doesn't grow larger." Globalization has been touted by the western world as a panacea for the many problems facing the poorest countries. Unfortunately, the benefits of globalization have yet to trickle down to people of the Third World, especially Africa. Indeed, Africa is the only continent in which every major social indicator is spiraling downward:

- Life expectancy is 48.9 years, compared with 77.7 years in developed countries;

- Child death rates stand at 105 per 1,000, versus six per 1,000 in developed nations;

- By 2010, there will be 13 million children orphaned by AIDS living in Africa;

- More than 2,700 children under the age of five die each day in Africa;

- One in two Africans has no regular access to clean water;

- More than 28 million Africans are infected with HIV/AIDS, with 55 percent of new infections occurring in women.

At a recent conference in Calgary on globalization, Stephen Lewis, the United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, told listeners the "twin pillars of trade and aid" that define Canada's foreign policy with Africa are failing. Lewis, who had just returned from Africa, visiting AIDS hospices and giving audience to the dying, said he is dumfounded at the West's refusal to truly help the people of Africa.

"I want to know -- what is wrong with the world?" he said. How is it we could reach the year 2002, with our extraordinary riches . . . and see an entire continent of 600 (million) to 700 million people continue to suffer? Why does the world sit by and watch it happen? Something is totally out of whack."

Lewis says one clear-cut way to help Africa is for G-8 countries to reduce the heavy tariffs imposed on African agriculture and textiles -- measures he says were put in place to protect western industries from competition from the Third World.

In September 2000, the UN published its Millennium Development Goals for Africa.

- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;

- Achieve universal primary education;

- Promote gender equality, while reducing child mortality;

- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;

- Develop a global partnership for development.


To achieve these goals, experts say Africa must maintain an annual economic growth rate of at least seven per cent. The current growth rate fluctuates between 2.6 and 3.1 per cent and economists say there is little hope of real growth without massive investment from the First World.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien recently boosted Canadian aid to Africa by $500 million, and pledged further annual increases of eight per cent for the remainder of his term in office. Robert Fowler, the prime minister's point man for the G-8 summit and Africa, admits the recent funding increases are just a drop in the bucket compared with the amount of money Africa needs to solve its problems. But, he adds: "It's a start." (Calgary Heraly, May 19, 2002)

RADIO HAVANA -- Globalization has worsened economic situation in Latin America. Experts agreed this on economic matters who are meeting in Brasilia. According to document presented at ECLA meeting, globalization has increased unemployment in Latin America.

Commentary by Jesus Sanchez Hoyos: Even though it may sound exaggerated, the participation of Latin American countries in world trade has not changed much in the past 50 years. Developed nations continue to hoard 65 per cent of world trade. Despite the fact that almost all countries opened their economies and accepted rules of neoliberal globalization, their trade balance continue in the red. Between 1985 and 1995 most countries lowered their import taxes, eliminated national protection. Foreign merchandise flooded these countries. Foreign debt now very high. Exchange not fair. And the United States continues to encourage the creation of the FTAA.

HEADLINE: A new model for social auditing: Nike's court defeat boosts the case for independent scrutiny of corporate responsibility.

US constitutional law produces strange bedfellows but it is hard to imagine a more unlikely combination than Nike, the sportswear business, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Yet both were outraged by the California Supreme Court's decision this month that Nike's trumpeting of the benefits of its corporate "code of conduct" was not political discourse protected by the US Bill of Rights but far less protected "commercial" speech. Nike's claims about improvements in conditions at its Indonesian factories, the court concluded, were little more than another form of advertising and public relations.

The collective outrage was misplaced, however. California's Supreme Court may have defined a new level of accountability for what corporations say - and do - to show they are responsible corporate citizens at home and abroad. The ruling invites the establishment of a framework to monitor corporate reporting on social performance, comparable with the regulatory framework that governs companies' disclosure of financial and business performance.

The European models of corporate social reporting offer valuable guidance to US multinationals - and US policy makers Nike has vowed to appeal against the ruling in the US Supreme Court. The decision was certainly bad news for the growing number of multinational corporations in industries targeted by anti-globalisation activists. Their public insistence that globalisation benefits workers in poor countries as well as consumers in wealthy ones now invites serious - or frivolous - litigation in the US. Attorneys worldwide will spend the coming weeks reviewing company publications and scrubbing websites to clarify corporate commitments to social responsibility, ethical sourcing and international worker rights.

But silence is not a solution. Corporate self-censorship will create a vacuum that will quickly be filled by the voices of the anti-globalists. Nor should the lesson of the Kasky case be that better or more disclosure by responsible business will avoid liability. The sad truth is that both silence and greater self-disclosure, no matter how well-intentioned, simply invite more suspicion, cynicism and litigation. They empower the forces opposed to globalisation and harden the skepticism of interested consumers.

The message to multinational business - and to global regulators - is that social accountability demands the same kind of independent scrutiny as financial auditing. Just as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Accounting Standards Board establish a framework in the US for public accountants to evaluate corporate financial performance, a new reporting system is needed for independent review of corporate social performance. If Enron exposed the need to strengthen the system of financial disclosure, the Kasky decision may prove to be the call for policy makers to establish a similar framework for social auditing.

As a minimum, such a framework will have to consist of three elements. The development of clear social standards - in such areas as labour conditions, environmental performance and promotion of human rights - will guide corporate practices. A professional corps of social auditors - independent of corporate control and accountable to the public - will be needed to review corporate operations. And safe harbors that limit legal liability will be essential to encourage companies to open their businesses to social audits.

Many of the most innovative models for corporate social reporting are already developing in Europe. The adoption in March of new social reporting requirements for French corporations is only the most recent demonstration of European belief in the benefits of government intervention.

Projects such as the recently launched Global Reporting Initiative and AA1000 standards are approaches gaining support in Europe that will lead to standardized reporting for all companies.

In future, companies will need to move way from self-promotional corporate social responsibility reports - such as those recently published by Reebok, Nike, McDonald's and Shell - and move towards independent evaluations by qualified third parties. They will have to open up their factories to independent audits that disclose publicly whether conditions have improved. And they will need to team up with local groups to educate workers and managers or to offer healthcare programmes and invite outsiders to evaluate their effectiveness.

Ironically, the benefits of greater openness and transparency have not been lost on Nike. Since the lawsuit was first filed, the company has taken big steps towards greater openness, disclosing many (but not all) factory locations, inviting student critics to inspect their facilities and reaching out to groups in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand to report publicly on workplace conditions. In future, many companies would do well to adopt at least one aspect of the Nike ethos regarding transparency: just do it.

The writer, formerly senior vice-president of global affairs at Gap, teaches at Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School. (Financial Times (London) May 27, 2002)

HEADLINE: Interview Supachai Panitchpakdi, director-general of the World Trade Organisation: Enlightened move.

Supachai Panitchpakdi is worried about his collection of bonsai trees. The incoming director-general of the World Trade Organisation doesn't think they will withstand the harsh Swiss winters so he has decided to leave them behind in his native Thailand when he starts his new job in September.

Some observers worry whether the ex-Buddhist monk can withstand the corrosive atmosphere at the WTO's Geneva headquarters. Top of the anti-globalisation movement's hate list, the WTO was a difficult organisation to run even before the protesters started besieging its summits. Managing it is going to require more than Zen-like calm. Protectionism is on the rise in the US, usually the cheerleader for free markets. Brussels and Washington are squaring up for what threatens to be the most ferocious trade war for a generation and the euphoria which lifted the organisation after the successful launch of a new round of global trade talks last November in Doha has almost evaporated.

Mr. Supachai - he has a Ph.D. in economics from Erasmus University in Rotterdam - is in an upbeat mood despite the challenges. "I'm not a pessimist," he says. "We have been making progress."

His own arrival is one sign of change at the WTO. Although the vast majority of its 145 members are developing countries, the former Thai deputy prime minister will be its first leader from the developing world. It's also the first time one of the big three global financial institutions - the other two are the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - has been run by someone from the third world.

Developing countries were his main support base when he ran for director general in 1999. With the WTO's most powerful member, the US, backing the ex- New Zealand prime minister, Mike Moore, deadlock was only resolved by splitting the job Moore's three years will be followed by three years of Supachai. His thoughtful, academic approach will be a change of pace after Moore's abrasive style.

Like all Thai men, Mr. Supachai spent a brief period as a Buddist monk and still practices the meditation techniques he learnt in the monastery. Dapper, he exudes quiet confidence, with a softly spoken voice and deliberate manner. His idea of relaxation is to write books on globalisation and play chess. Diplomatic observers hope he will bring fresh impetus to the Doha negotiations, already showing signs of getting bogged down. (The Guardian (London) May 25, 2002)


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has called for a "joined up" approach by government and society to the creation of a culture of peace and human rights. The former President of Ireland was speaking at the annual Martha Magee Law Lecture at the University of Ulster's Magee campus in Londonderry on Saturday. The lecture is one of the keynote events in Northern Ireland's legal calendar.

Addressing over 100 legal and political opinion formers, she offered insights into world debates over globalisation, HIV/Aids, poverty, and the rights of women, drawing on her experiences as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since 1997. She said: "One of the most important ways to shape change is to understand the importance of value systems and the normative standards that bring about the implementation of those value systems that we've built up.

"I now know in detail one of the normative systems, which is the human rights norm and standards. There are also the environmental norms and standards: there are the labour norms and standards; then there are the WTO rules on the competitive side.

"Why don't we have a joining up? The same governments have ratified the covenants and conventions of these normative standards; but, when there are discussions on the WTO, you don't hear governments saying 'Oh, we've made commitments under the human rights covenants and conventions, and those commitments go beyond out own country, it's an international commitment'.

"You don't hear that kind of debate - but that's what an ethical globalisation would be about."

Turning to the rights of children, the High Commissioner spoke of her "depression" at the way children's issues were sometimes handled by the United Nations organisation. "I was in New York last week to participate in the special session on children. It was extremely depressing to see the official side of the discussions.

"There was a great reluctance to refer to or make central to the way forward for children the convention on the rights of the child, a convention which has been ratified by 191 states - every state, except the US and Somalia.

"But there was a huge reluctance, and great pressure, and some of the states that had ratified (the convention) were trying to pull back on some of the commitments, because now they are reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and they are beginning to realise what they have got themselves into.

"So they are trying to limit this human rights-based approach, and that was quite depressing. There was a great reluctance to talk about reproductive rights; to say that young people should have access to adequate knowledge and information: despite the huge pandemic of HIV/Aids. It's so sad to see this kind of attitude," she said.

But, she said, there were also signs of hope.

"On the other side, there was an extraordinarily refreshing new impact on the special session on children. Because, for the first time in a UN General Assembly special session, we heard the voices of children and young people.

"They were children of the indigenous communities - Roma in Europe, travelers here in Ireland, they were children who had suffered greatly: children who had been trafficked; children who cared about other children who were being trafficked on a huge scale worldwide. And when you hear the true voice, it does resonate. There was a silence, and a listening in the room that you don't usually get at these General Assembly gathering where everyone is buzzing around, forging new alliances, getting votes and doing whatever they are doing."

UU law Professor Christine Bell said: "Mary Robinson has brought a conscience to the international community. "It has often made her unpopular with government, but in raising the concerns of human dignity and in giving a voice to people who otherwise would not be heard, she has fulfilled an ethic that is not just at the heart of her office, but which is at the heart of the conception of the UN itself." (Belfast News Letter May 20, 2002)

HEADLINE: GLOBALIZATION OPENS DOOR TO MORE TOXIC CONSUMER GOODS' A leading toxicologist and pharmacologist in the Philippines has warned against the importation of consumer goods, especially from China, that may contain toxicants.

Nelia Cortes-Maramba, a professor at the pharmacology and toxicology department of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in Manila, said the advent of globalization has also facilitated the entry of toxic consumer goods into the Philippines. "Studies have been conducted and they showed that Crayola (brand) does not contain lead while the crayons from China contain lead," Ms. Maramba said. Maternal exposure to lead can cause neurological deficit in the fetus, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and neonatal mortality. Lead is also found in products for dyeing hair. Some products contain as much as 20% lead acetate, much higher than the 0.06% concentration allowed in the United States.


Lead is among the industrial chemicals and environmental agents that were found to have adverse human fetal consequences, according to Ms. Maramba.

Others are carbon monoxide, dimethylforfamide, dioxin, mercury, styrene, thallium and toluene. Mercury poisoning is commonly caused by amalgam in oral cavities which come into contact with acidic substances and convert into methyl mercury. Ms. Maramba said there are at least 70,000 chemicals in the commercial market but only 20% have been evaluated for their toxicological potential in adults. Less than 5% of the 20% were evaluated for their toxicological potential on the child.

In 1999, she said former US President Bill Clinton ordered a study on the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of pesticides by adults. No study was made on the effects of pesticides on children.

"Even in the United States, no studies have been made on the effects of pesticides on children and other high-risk sectors," she said. Those considered high risk, aside from the children, are the old people and pregnant women.

Ms. Maramba, who was elected in 1999 to the board of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, also said around 20,000 chemicals are commonly found in the workplace. Less than 1% were tested for reproductive and developmental hazard potential.

Of all the chemicals that are now commonly used, less than 1% are therapeutic agents, she added. (BusinessWorld (Philippines) May 20, 2002)

HEADLINE: AFRICA -- Comparatively, unsafe abortions claim the lives of 78,000 women around the globe every year, almost half of them on the African continent.

The gains made in South Africa are significant considering the international context in which women's sexual and reproductive rights have been under attack on several levels. The global trend toward privatization of basic health services has resulted in many women dying unnecessarily. In Tanzania, for example, women are unable to access ante-natal services unless they pay a small fee introduced as part of that country's structural adjustment programme.

Indeed, globalisation has in many cases impacted negatively on the ability of women throughout the developing world to access abortion-related services or to advocate for changes to draconian reproductive health laws. Funding for such programmes is often not available or is restricted, obstructing women from accessing, in certain instances, the only safe options to terminate a pregnancy. (Panafrican News Agency (PANA) Daily Newswire May 10, 2002)

HEADLINE: RIGHTS-BRAZIL: GOV'T JACKS UP PRESSURE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKERS. Brazil is stepping up efforts to fight the trafficking of human beings, an illegal activity that involves more than 700,000 victims -- mostly women and children -- worldwide each year.

Multidisciplinary teams are already active in several Brazilian state capitals that are believed to serve as hubs for human trafficking, such as Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, all located on the country's Atlantic coast.

The teams are creating databases, conducting investigations, providing training and mobilizing the various entities involved with protecting citizens from falling victim to traffickers. Delegates from the government, police, services specializing in preventing crimes against women, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are taking part in the effort. The National Program to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Humans (TSH) was created in Brazil to fight this growing scourge, which today is only surpassed on the global level by illegal weapons sales and drug trafficking in the context of international organized crime.

Trafficking of persons moves some $ 5 to $ 7 billion a year worldwide, according to the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP). No country is immune to this problem, says the ODCCP. Trafficking in human beings has grown in the last decade to epidemic proportions, fueled by economic globalization, disappearing international borders, and pressure for cheaper labor.

The UN office cites a recent report from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which estimates that "45,000 to 50,000 women and children are brought to the United States every year under false pretenses and are forced to work as prostitutes, abused laborers or servants."

Trafficking in humans is growing fastest in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the countries that were part of the former socialist bloc or the Soviet Union. The victims are used mainly to supply Germany's sex industry.

Brazil is believed to be among the leading countries of origin of these modern-day slaves, though the lack of hard data hinders accurate comparisons with the numbers of victims coming from other countries. The Brazilian anti-trafficking program, TSH, was launched in December with ODCCP support.

The European sex market is the main destination of the Brazilian women who fall victims to traffickers. Others also end up in Europe, working in relatively safer conditions as household domestics.

According to Brazil's Federal Police, the routes most often followed by traffickers pass through the northeastern cities of Fortaleza, Recife or Salvador, the central-west city of Goiania or, in the south, Curitiba or Rio de Janeiro. They then head to Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Italy with their illegal human "cargo."

"The dream of marrying a foreigner from a wealthy country seduces many young women," facilitating the work of the traffickers, Carla Maldonato, psychologist at the Women Life Collective, an NGO in Recife, told IPS.

The TSH Program invited the Women Life Collective, which has been working for more than a decade with marginalized girls and women, to participate in the multidisciplinary team due to the group's efforts to fight sex tourism and to raise awareness about the risks of prostitution.

The sex tourism industry, which is very active in Recife and in neighboring beach cities, is a principal "gateway" for women to fall victims to traffickers. Adolescent women do not recognize it as a form of prostitution and so are easily duped, Maldonato said.

Many young women who were attracted by promises of marriage and a better life, usually in Europe, have met a tragic fate, as in the case of a Brazilian woman who was stabbed by her German "boyfriend," said the psychologist. However, there are always a few lucky ones, and their success fuels the fantasies of other women to follow in their footsteps.

The reality is, however, that most victims of this illegal trade are kept in slave-like conditions in the country of destination. The traffickers take away the women's passports, threaten them with violence, charge them for travel expenses and other trumped up debts, keeping the women captive while forcing them into prostitution.

Men also fall into the trap, fooled by promises of a decent job that turns out to be "dirty work" that is dangerous and in conditions of servitude. Sociologist Gabriela Cordeiro, technical adviser for the THS Program's center in Recife, said that city was selected among the first for implementation because it is a key point in the trafficking of women and also of allegedly adopted children.

Experts at the Recife center are currently investigating the apparently illegal adoption of 25 children who were sent to unknown destinations. In the southern city of Paran , the National Movement for Disappeared Children suspects that many illegal adoptions are being used to disguise the trafficking of minors. Furthermore, along the border with Paraguay and Argentina, authorities have identified several trafficking networks that supply women to the neighboring countries' sex industries.

The ODCCP stresses the differences between illegal immigration, which involves some four million people around the world each year, and trafficking in human beings. In the first case, individuals act on their own volition in taking the related risks, though they may end up living in the same conditions as the victims of traffickers do.

But trafficking of persons can also take place within a single country, as is the case of many women who are tricked into working in the brothels in the mining areas of the Brazilian Amazon, and of men forced into slave labor in northern Brazil.

Fighting the illegal trade in human beings is difficult because the victims themselves usually refuse to report the crime or to provide testimony because they fear retaliation or being charged as an accomplice, or simply because they are ashamed, says Elizabeth Sussekind, Brazil's National Secretary of Justice.

As a result, trafficking in human beings is a business that offers high profits and impunity, and is therefore attractive to organized crime rings. The Brazilian Federal Police have launched more than 1,500 investigations of suspected traffickers, but have brought few to justice.

A Madrid-based police office specializing in immigrants' affairs met with similar frustrations, investigating 141 networks in 1998 believed to be engaged in human trafficking, but able to dismantle only a few dozen. (Inter Press Service May 2, 2002)


The 1999 Human Development Report of the UN Development Program (UNDP) says that globalization has caused massive expansion of the world economy since l990. However, the report notes that globalization has also resulted in a greater unevenness, "leaving countries, regions, ethnic and religious groups, classes and economic sectors the victims of increased inequality."

The UNDP also said that while globalization has created a highly integrated labor market for "the global professional elite" (e.g., executives, scientists, entertainers, programmers, etc.), who enjoy high mobility and wages, it has subjected many rank-and-file workers to "greater insecurity in jobs and incomes" under "more flexible labor policies with more precarious work arrangements" in various industries and countries.

The truth is that, under globalization the science of employment forecasting has become less and less of a science.

The traditional technique used by education and skills development institutions in making manpower forecasts - the manpower requirements analysis (MRA) - has become obsolete. MRA projects the potential manpower surpluses or shortages by the economic sector and industry by analyzing historical trends in population growth and employment growth, making projections of growth, and comparing these projections with the existing manpower. Very neat and logical. However, radical changes in technology and their application in the work process have also radically altered the demand for certain products as well as the size and composition of the work force to be utilized in a given business establishment.

For example, in the late l970s, economists were projecting continued growth and job expansion in the copper mining industry. However, the end of the Vietnam War and the development of the fiber optics as a more efficient communication conductor led to the collapse of the copper mining industry in l979-80.

In the world of work, the widespread application of IT or the information technology has enabled employers to rearrange work and deployment of workers in the leanest and most flexible manner possible. IT is used in endless reengineering exercises, which often lead to downsizing exercises. For example, IT has enabled companies to reduce layers in the organizational hierarchy, as IT allows top managers broader span of control. IT is also used in classifying jobs into simple and complex tasks.

Simple tasks are given to semi-skilled casual workers, who are usually hired through labor contracting. Complex and technical tasks are given to core workers, whose work productivity is sustained through various human resource development strategies. With greater IT application and the adoption of various technology- related adjustments in the work process, jobs in the formal sector of the economy have become less and less stable. Moreover, globalization has spurred endless structural changes in the economy as nations undertake "structural reform" policies promoting greater integration in the world economy. These policies include privatization, deregulation, trade liberalization and the general opening-up of the economy to foreign participation.

For many developing economies, the concrete and practical consequence of structural reforms is a general shift of economic orientation in favor of the export sector. In the more successful economies, the export-led growth has created new jobs and new economic opportunities. In many developing economies with a large domestic-oriented sector, a shift in favor of export orientation usually means a decline in support and protection to local industries, which are the main sources of formal sector jobs and the base of traditional unionism.

If domestic industries are unable to withstand the flood of imports, the likely consequence would be the collapse of jobs and the "hollowing out" of the domestic economy. And if the growth of the export sector is limited or marginal, the global integration process can even become a national catastrophe. Structural changes in the economy means new industries or sectors may arise, e.g., IT-related industry, wireless telecom industry. However, structural changes may also mean the collapse of old or existing industries.

But the most problematic under present-day globalization is the reality that economies of the world are really competing against each other instead of complementing or supplementing each other's growth requirements. China and its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). China is seen as a giant economy capable of producing a wide range of products, from the most simple household tools and appliances to the more complicated machines and industrial raw materials, at prices way below those of the Asian producers.

In the past, the most worried about China were economies producing cheap labor-intensive products; today, even Singapore, Korea and Japan have expressed increasing apprehension as China is able to steadily increase its industrial sophistication. In the less developed economies of Asia, China is seen as a major threat even by cheap-labor countries. For example, the motorcycle industry of Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia cannot match the price of Chinese-made motorcycles, which can sell as low as $ 300-400 a unit.

The point is that industries of some countries are less competitive compared to the industries of China and other countries. Naturally, countries with more losing industries are bound to have more unemployment problems compared to those with more winning industries. The best that one can do in relation to trends in the labor market of East and Southeast Asia is to identify and outline what are the major economic developments that are shaping or likely to shape the pattern of labor absorption or labor creation in the region . Below are the more important developments:

Decline of the Japanese dragon. In the l970s and l980s, most of the East Asian and Southeast Asian economies became the destination of Japanese foreign direct investments. With a rising yen and rising cost of labor, Japan began regionalizing its famous industrial pyramid based on industrial subcontracting, transforming the neighboring NICs (newly industrialized countries) as sites for medium-technology manufacturing and the less developed Southeast Asian economies as sites for labor-intensive manufacturing.

This development gave substance to the economic doctrine advanced by some Japanese economists - a flock of geese flying in inverted 'V' formation led by the mother goose, Japan. For example, the production of parts and components of the car such as axle, transmission, engine, chassis, body, etc. has been distributed to different countries, with Japan concentrating mainly on R&D and global marketing of cars.

To a certain extent, the flying geese doctrine as propagated by Japan is beneficial to Asia. Japan's growth tends to pull up the second tier of geese - the NICs, which in turn tend to pull up the next tier of geese - the less developed Asian economies. But the strength of the mother goose is also the weakness for the members of the flock. If Japan's economy gets sick, as what has been the situation since the early l990s, the rest of the flock are adversely affected. Today, Japan's economy is in doldrums and there are speculations that the weakness of the Japanese banking industry portends of further economic decline - and risks for its neighboring Asian countries. (BusinessWorld (Philippines) 2002)

The author is a professor at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations of the University of the Philippines. The following are excerpts from the keynote paper delivered by Dr. Ofreneo last month in a seminar on the "Impact of China's WTO Accession on the Labour Market" in Beijing. The seminar was organized by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the Asia-Pacific Regional Organizations of the International Trade Union.)

HEADLINE: Women and work: The thorn in the rose.

Working women worldwide are increasingly endangering their health by doing demanding jobs in which they have too little control, writes Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, who spoke to a leading Belgian researcher about job stress, absenteeism and coronary heart disease

Improving women's education and enabling them to join the work force in large numbers took years and a great deal of feminist effort. But it seems there's a thorn in the rose.

Working women around the world are increasingly endangering their health in stressful jobs over which they have too little control - increasing their risk of heart disease, hypertension, clinical depression and other maladies.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week, Kornitzer, whose three sons live in Israel with their families, reported on preliminary findings: "We have already clearly seen that working women - especially those at lower socioeconomic levels but among higher-level occupational levels as well - experience a greater frequency of clinical depression, resulting in a greater amount of absenteeism.

"Women experience more job- related stress and a lower sense of control than men of equivalent occupation status. The combination of a high level of strain and a low sense of control is associated with increased heart disease."

The Belgian cardiologist stressed that increased job insecurity due to globalization and high unemployment are taking their toll on workers, especially women, around the world - including Israel.

Because of globalization, international companies are buying local businesses that previously served as competition and swallowing them up, reducing the number of jobs. And even when they don't fear dismissal, many women have an inadequate amount of "control" in their work. This Kornitzer defines as "having too much work to do and not enough time or resources to do it, or being caught between their obligations at work with those to their families at home." (The Jerusalem Post, 2002)