An Introduction to Feminist Economics

Our next event in our lecture series “An Introduction to Heterodox Economics: What they won’t teach you in an Economics Degree” will be presented by leading Development Economist and Professor at the Delhi Institute of Economic Growth, Bina Agarwal. Bina will be presenting us an introduction to Feminist Economics, a discussion of the economic implications of gender roles that is mostly overlooked by Neoclassical Economics.

INTRODUCTION TO FEMINIST ECONOMICS
Bina Argarwal
Tuesday the 1st of April
5-7pm University Place 1.219

There is great scope for bringing Feminism to economics. Gender inequality and women’s rights are a globally important issue. Diana Strassman refers to Amartya Sen’s research that says “100 million more women would be alive if they had access to basic resources”. Clearly this is an economically important result; explaining a loss so great should be one of the biggest focuses of economists who want to ‘make the world a better place’. Yet this can be blindsided by those only looking at the basic economic indicators such as GDP, which contains no such information about the gender differential.

In less developed countries we know that women lack inheritance rights, property rights and working rights by law and culture restrictions, and so their contribution cannot be included by many standard economic indicators. This leads us to ask just how much information Economists and policy-makers are missing by not considering the implications of gender in Economic theory. A more in depth appreciation of Feminist Economics can help Economists ask the right questions about the roles of women, and lay the groundwork for much more gender-inclusive policy making , which can only have positive impacts on future economic development.

10 Principles Of Feminist Economics (G.Schneider & J.Shackelford)

1. There can be no such thing as a definitive list of the principles of feminist economics.
2. Values enter into economic analysis at many different levels.
3. The Household is a locus of economic activity.
4. Non-market activities are important to the economy.
5. Power relationships are important in an economy.
6. A gendered perspective is central to the study of economics.
“ In parts of Africa, the traditional role of the woman as the provider of food allows the men to participate in other economic activities such as wage labor and cash-crop farming. In the U. S., the fact that most of the responsibility for household chores still falls to women allows men greater freedom to pursue careers that require long hours. “
7. Human beings are complex, and they are influenced by more than just material factors.
8. People compete, cooperate and care.
9. Government action can improve market outcomes.
10. The scope of economics must be interdisciplinary.

Watch Diana Strassman’s TEDx Talk: Bringing Feminism to Economics (Diana Strassman is the founding editor of the journal Feminist Economics.)

1 Comment

  1. I have found Julie Nelson’s writing on feminist economics very useful. I have recommended her paper “Ethics and the Economist: What Climate Change demands of Us and her book: “Economics for Humans” (Chicago University Press, 2006) to students on an adult education course over the last two years

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