Amplifying voices from the Global South
Macroeconomics is deeply intertwined with power structures around the globe. National macroeconomic policies are frequently developed by decision makers who can and do enforce policies that will benefit them and their constituencies. Global macroeconomic policies are also developed by centuries-old power structures (the Global North) and imposed upon the countries of the Global South, including through the international financial institutions.
To dismantle and shift power away from the neoliberal capitalist structures that are harmful to women, girls, and non-binary people (as well as the environment), it can help us to use an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist perspective on global macroeconomic policies, and their reflections on our national contexts. We need to hear the voices, actions, and testimonies of people from the Global South to inform this perspective. Feminist economists and activists have been working hard to make the lack of voices and realities evident, and to find alternative ways to include them in global and national macroeconomic decision-making structures.
One way that IWRAW Asia Pacific works to contribute to building feminist economies, strategies, and structures is by creating platforms that are both living and growing; that are organic, dynamic and symbiotic with other existing processes relating to economic and social policy. This is how the Global South Women’s Forum (GSWF) on Sustainable Development, a forum that links local experiences to global processes, came to be: IWRAW Asia Pacific began to mobilise Global South women’s rights organisations around the 2030 Agenda. The first GSWF was held in Cambodia in 2016, the second in Rwanda in 2017, the third in Jordan in 2018 and the fourth in Malaysia in 2019. The forums brought together women from different parts of the Global South who addressed the conceptualisation of sustainable development as a women’s rights issue, and strategised to work collectively.
In 2020 and 2021, GSWF was moved online, creating an open virtual space for feminists across the Global South to voice their demands and co-create ways to transform the structural barriers to gender equality and historical injustices embedded in the global economic systems and the climate crisis.