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Feminist economics 101

Posted in The Role of the State on February 7th, 2013 by

This session was intended to provide a basic understanding of Feminist Economics’ (FE) contribution both to Economics and to Feminism: What does FE means? How has FE developed over time? What are FE main issues? What are FE critiques to mainstream Economics? What resources does FE provides to feminist activism? A summary prepared by AWID staff of the issues raised in the economic toolbox session “Feminist economics 101” at the 2012 AWID Forum is included below.

Speakers: Nilufer Cagatay (GEM-IWG-International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics and International Economics), Alma Espino (GEM-LAC- Grupo Género y Macroeconomía de América Latina) / (IGTN -International Gender and Trade Network), Lucía Pérez Fragoso (GEM-LAC- Grupo Género y Macroeconomía de América Latina), Corina Rodríguez Enríquez (GEM-LAC-Grupo Género y Macroeconomía de América Latina) / (IAFFE-International Association for Feminist Economics)

What is Feminist Economics?

Feminist Economics takes a more holistic approach than conventional economics by including politics, activism and public policy to develop specific proposals to transform people’s lives and promote social justice.  The goal is to build livelihoods that are sustainable and advance gender equality using not only an economic perspective but also a social and cultural one.  Feminist economics introduces the idea of the sphere of reproduction of life to the discourse and asserts that it has a functional role in the economic system.  As well, it makes visible power linkages and relations.

What are Feminist Economics’ critiques and reactions to conventional economics?

Feminist Economics denounces absolutist assertions about the economy. For example, conventional economics does not recognize care work as a subsidy that households make to the capitalist system of accumulation and production.  In this system, care work is invisible and not valued; this care work often falls on women’s shoulders.  Conventional economics needs to recognize that care work is work that is done in a co-responsible way between society, state and the market.

Why is Feminist Economics necessary?

This video captures the view, from different actors, that the same recipe for fiscal discipline through a conventional economic lens – that countries cannot get into debt and cannot increase spending – can be applied to different countries and contexts. They all advocate for cuts to be ‘fiscally responsible’ that are related to social spending, i.e. health, education and housing. They approach these ideas under the guise that these cuts are gender neutral but they are not. They impact traditional women’s roles (such as care work) more than men’s.



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