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Setting the Feminist Agenda for the Economy

Published: Thursday, May 28, 2020

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is today holding a webinar, “Setting the feminist Agenda for the Economy”, looking at how Covid-19 is impacting women right now, as well as how we can imagine and push for a model of feminist recovery that benefits all.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“Since the onset on Covid-19, there is a growing realisation of care as an essential public service , the need for a public childcare system, the inadequacy of our social welfare system and the need for universal services. These are all key components of feminist economics. To rebuild our economy, we need radical change in how we measure growth and success. We must reorganise our work and welfare systems so that they accommodate care and provide everyone with a decent standard of living. A feminist economic model is one that eradicates inequality, the damage to the environment and values the millions of hours of unpaid work carried out by women.”

Diane Elson, Emeritus Professor, University of Essex and Chair of the Commission on a Gender Equal Economy, said,

“Care is central to a feminist agenda for our economies.  More public investment in health and care services, to improve availability, quality and the pay, conditions and training of workers in those services. Plus the redesign of jobs throughout our economies so that men and women can make equal contributions to unpaid care in families.”

Ebun Joseph, Race Relations Consultant, lecturer and activist, said

“We need to be conscious that inequality is not new in Ireland, rather the pandemic has just made it more explicit. Looking at inequality through a stratification framework shows that it is not about where people end up in our society but where they start from which makes their outcome inevitable. Those who start from further back on the strata will have more working against them, so let’s mitigate against this so that COVID-19 does not become a crisis of/for the marginalised.”

Mary Murphy, Associate Professor, Maynooth University said,

“The male bread winner does not produce ‘anomalies’ or accidental oversights which omit women’s interests. Rather it produces ‘manomalies’, inevitable and unwelcome features of gender biased policy.  A gender sensitive reform, based on twin concepts of Universal Basic Services and a Participation Income, can promote women’s economic independence and autonomy, greater sharing of care between men and women. Part-time work for all creates more time to engage in life affirming reciprocal care work which enhances both our society and our wider ecology.”

For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications and Social Media Coordinator, 085 8619087.