Feminist Economics Toolbox sessions

The mainstream economic system and the economic policies derived from it have significant impacts on women’s livelihoods and are a strong force in shaping their possibilities to fully exercise their rights and live a life with dignity. Any piece of the Forum program offered an opportunity for learning, but in particular, we developed an entire session block on the first day—our “feminist economics toolbox”—dedicated to information sharing, awareness-raising, and skills-building on themes linked to economics, economic policies or other issues of key concern for feminists interested in transforming economic power.

Feminist economics 101:

This session is 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?

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)

Development: some of us live it, some of us work in it, some of us strive for it and some of us challenge it:

What do we mean by development? This session will engage with critical feminist perspectives of the different constructions and conceptions of development. What these diverse, mainstream and complex understandings of development mean for women’s rights will be explored and challenged.

Speakers: Yvonne Underhill-Sem (University of Auckland), Yardena Tankel (Autonomous Feminists Aotearoa)

Demystifying Economics: Macroeconomic Policy:

What is macroeconomic policy? What are examples of how macroeconomic policies shape the realities of women’s lives? Understanding the overall impact of macroeconomic policies on human rights can be an effective tool in feminist activism.  Participants attending this skills-building session will explore the linkages between macroeconomic policies and human rights.

Speakers: Radhika Balakrishnan (CWGL), James Heintz (Political Economy Research Institute -PERI), Diane Elson (University of Essex)

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) / Growth:

What counts, what doesn’t count, who’s doing the counting, and what are the data used for? After an introduction to the basics using ‘chapters’ from the Who’s Counting? video, we will explore the current status of national income accounting, the best questions feminists can be asking, and the best strategies to adopt.

Speakers: Marilyn Waring (Auckland University of Technology)

How to Advocate for Gender Equity through Taxation?

Taxation is gendered and can reproduce or sometimes exacerbate gender inequalities. As demand for increased domestic resource mobilization grows, gender-based organizations need to expose the implicit and explicit gender biases of tax policies and advocate for their removal. The tax advocacy toolkit will equip participants to do just that.

Speakers: Sandra Kidwingira and Ernest Okyere (Tax Justice Network-Africa)

Corporate Campaigning 101:

Learn how campaign organizations working to advance worker rights in global supply chains balance campaigning and engagement with corporations to pressure for change. We’ll share practical lessons based on real cases in the garment industry over the last decade. Participants will learn basic dos and don’ts in corporate campaigning.

Speakers: Ineke Zeldenrust and Niki De Koning (Clean Clothes Campaign), Ana Enriquez and Lynda Yanz (Maquila Solidarity Network)

Rethinking Ideas of Work from a Feminist Perspective:

This session will explore how feminists have sought to reconceptualize the idea of work.  It will highlight the artificial nature of the distinction between paid and unpaid work.  And it will discuss how the rise of global care chains has made visible some of the hidden dimensions of women’s work.”

Speakers: Naila Kabeer (School of Oriental and African Studies, London University)

Climate Change Finance and Women’s Empowerment:

In this session we’ll explore the gender dimensions of international climate change finance, including essential nuts and bolts of gender climate change adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer and development. Participants will map out the instruments, institutions and modalities of climate change financing as they exist and are emerging globally, regionally and nationally.

Speakers: Mariama Williams (South Centre)

Demystifying the financial crisis:

The financial crisis of 2008 is ongoing. World leaders are not solving it, but are rather using it to impose austerity measures upon entire populations.  It’s not hard to understand — but if you don’t, you can’t act against it.  This is a citizen’s and a women’s issue.

Speakers: Susan George (Transnational Institute)

Deconstructing the International Financial Architecture (& what it means for gender justice):

This session will examine key pillars of the international financial architecture, fiscal and monetary policy, financial markets, public debt, and the role of actors ranging from Wall Street, to central banks, and others. We’ll focus on the ideology and principles shaping the current system and how it could be re-structured.

Speakers: Bhumika Muchhala (Third World Network)

Understanding International Financial Institutions (IFIs):

The session will highlight: 1) an overview on the IFIs (what they are, their role, and how they influence and impact country policies, investments and women’s rights and livelihoods); and 2) how civil society can advocate for gender sensitive IFI investments that promote women’s rights and justice.

Speakers: Elaine Zuckerman and Elizabeth Arend (Gender Action, USA), Christian Tanyi (Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation – LUKMEF), Ana Quirós Víquez (El Centro de Información y Servicios de Asersoria en Salud – CISAS, Nicaragua).

Surviving Money and the Financial System:

An audio-visual presentation/talk/Q&A on how money and financial systems operate and impact on women of limited means; how the system serves economic purpose, but also deceives and impoverishes through abuse. It interactively provides what women need to know and do to counter the system and survive.

Speakers: Najma Sadeque and Deneb Sumbul (Shirkat Gah)

Global economy education and women’s empowerment exercises: Broadening the analysis, broadening the base:

In this round robin workshop, participants will experience and learn how to conduct strategic education that blends women’s empowerment, labor organizing techniques, and global economy education and analysis that enables labor unions to connect with women workers, inspire them to become members,and helps build their agency and power.

Speakers: Lisa McGowan (Solidarity Center), Kalthoum Barkallah (Tunisian Railway Union), Suzan Musharbash.

Food Sovereignty and Food Security:

This session will present basic notions of concepts of food security and food sovereignty; where these concepts emerged and their contexts. As well, the session will highlight distinctions between the two and their relevance for advancing women’s rights and economic justice.

Speakers: Francisca Rodriguez (Asociación Nacional de Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas de Chile), ANAMURI and CLOC-Via Campesina; Berin Erturk, Ciftci-Sen (member La Via Campesina European Coordination)

Commodification of Knowledge – How increasing access and availability of the Internet has transformed the way knowledge is produced and shared:

What does it mean for women’s rights that most online platforms and services are owned by a few transnational corporations? How do international copyright agreements, data protection and privacy affect our advocacy? Who governs the Internet, content and data we produce and exchange, and how can feminists engage with and participate in this process?

Speakers: Jac Kee (Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme)

Exploring the Gender Specific Impacts of New Forms of International Trade: How, Why and Where?

Bilateral free trade and investment agreements are bringing in much more than trade, and their gender impact is changing in nature and depth. This session will inform about and explore some of these issues across sectors such as agriculture, industry and services, with a focus on developing countries.

Speakers: Ranja Sengupta (Third World Network)