How to use this starter kit
The ultimate aim of this starter kit is to demystify macroeconomics and its impact on the daily lives of women. It is also to provide women’s rights organisations with tools for the analysis and development of demands, which will then challenge and transform macroeconomic policies that exacerbate inequalities.
The starter kit follows a funnel approach, where we start with a more general overview and lead into more detailed issues, structures, institutions, and processes. We have formulated the starter kit so that it can be read both as a whole and in sections, especially for people who are more familiar with macroeconomics.
We start with explaining the current theories and models of macroeconomics, and their relevance to and impacts on women’s human rights and gender equality. We also give some examples of current feminist criticisms of conventional macroeconomic policies, and highlight the questions and perspectives that feminist economists apply. While doing this, the starter kit also provides definitions for those ‘big’ macroeconomic terms that make it all sound so distant and technical.
We continue with providing information and a critical perspective on the main macroeconomic institutions that formulate many of the macroeconomic policies in place. At the end of each section, there are exercises which will motivate you to consider the effects of these models, terms, and policies on women’s lives and rights, and make connections with your realities and your work.
Throughout the starter kit, you will see examples of women’s rights organisations or platforms that are already working on macroeconomic and development issues, such as taxation, social spending and debt repayment, and trade and investment policies. We hope that both these examples, as well as the ‘Further resources’ at the end of each section, can be useful for you if and when you want to get deeper into the issues, institutions, processes, and policies we try to briefly explain here.
The last section of the starter kit aims to provide you with an initial list of institutions and processes within which you can advocate for feminist alternatives to current macroeconomic policies. We want to stress that there are always more pathways that can be utilised for advocacy depending on your context, the issue you are tackling, and your specific constituency. Indeed, for political and strategic reasons, many women’s rights organisations choose not to engage at all with formal or dominant institutions. This is only to provide a starting point, and we would love to hear about new advocacy pathways or strategies you may undertake to advance your macroeconomic demands.
We hope that you will find the starter kit useful, and that we can contribute to the broad and ongoing movement building happening across the world, challenging neoliberal macroeconomic and development policies and providing stronger feminist alternatives.