Feminist alternatives to conventional macroeconomic policies
By understanding the economy as gendered, feminist economists ‘explicitly acknowledge and identify the gendered power relations that underpin the various institutions, transactions and relations that make up the sphere of “the economy”, though gender relations within that system can also be transformed and made new’.
– UNCTAD, Trade and Gender, quoted in Bretton Woods Project, The IMF and Gender Equality
Feminist scholars and activists have been strategising for new alternatives to complement the criticisms they make of current neoliberal, capitalist macroeconomic structures, and policies. Recent years have seen a collective rise in the amount of publications, workshops, and advocacy tools on this issue, some of which you can find in the ‘Further resources’ section of this and other sections of the starter kit. Below are just some of the proposals and advocacy points developed by feminist economists and activists.
A different macroeconomic lens can build an enabling environment for all aspects of gender justice, not just economic equality.
– Gender & Development Network
Intersectionality and interlinkages
From its very beginning, this starter kit has aimed to showcase that the economy is indeed very much connected to political, social, and ecological aspects, and our human rights, even though economics has been long presented as a siloed issue. Feminist economists and activists have made significant contributions to our understanding of this interconnectedness. Their critiques of capitalist economies have shown that the current drive for the neoliberal, capitalist growth systematically overlooks and endangers the ecological and social dimensions of our lives.1This is one of the reasons why the ‘purple economy’, which will be covered at the end of this section, also situates itself as a macroeconomic model that compliments and builds on the ‘green economy’, which focuses on the ecological dimensions of the political economy’s effects.
While it is important to see the interconnectedness of the issues, it is also important to see the intersectionalities among different issues. All of our lives are shaped by the intersectional effects of gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, (dis)ability, health, and many other determinants. These determinants result in different impacts and violations of the rights of women and girls, and therefore call for different remedies and solutions. The same macroeconomic policies have differential effects on white, upper-class, well-educated women compared to migrant women of colour from low-income backgrounds. Only through such an intersectional analysis and thinking can we bring in solutions to fulfill the economic rights of all women, girls, and non-binary people in our societies.
- 1This is one of the reasons why the ‘purple economy’, which will be covered at the end of this section, also situates itself as a macroeconomic model that compliments and builds on the ‘green economy’, which focuses on the ecological dimensions of the political economy’s effects.