Gender economics: Dr. Vibhuti Patel


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GENDER Economics- Dr. Vibhuti Patel

Analytical tools provided by Gender Economics (GE) are extremely useful to deal with the legal issues concerning marriage, divorce, custody of children, guardianship rights, alimony, maintenance, property rights of mother, sister, daughter, legally wedded wives and her child/ children, co-wives and their children, keeps and their children and the issues concerning adoption. GE has a special significance in the subsistence economy which use the kinship networks, institutions of polygamy and polyandry for concentration and centralisation of wealth and capital by either the patriarchs or the matriarchs. Domestic animals, women and children are the main assets in the subsistence sector where collection of fuel, fodder, water are important components of daily life over and above agrarian chores, live-stock rearing and kitchen gardening.

GE has drawn heavily from all mainstream disciplines and innumerable social movements of the last three decades. GE provides insights to examine budgets of Government Organisations (GOs) and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) from the point of view of gender justice. Priority areas being women's education, health and nutrition, skill development, accounts, financial and commercial viability, legal standing, asset and corpus building. GE contextualises day to day survival struggles of women in the family, in the households, in the community and in the micro, meso and macro economy with the perspective of power relations which control women and girl children's sexuality, fertility and labour.

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Gender economics: Dr. Vibhuti Patel

  1. 1. Gender Economics Dr. Vibhuti Patel, DIRECTOR, PGSR Professor & Head, Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020. E-mail- [email_address] Phone-91-022-22052970 (O), 26770227 ®, mobile-9321040048
  2. 2. Why Gender Economics(GE)? <ul><li>Gender Economics is an academic discipline, a science concerned about women’s equality with man and the development of women. </li></ul><ul><li>It provides an analytical tool, a worldview to understand the status of women and an alternative viewpoint to existing knowledge construction. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Important objectives of GE <ul><li>To facilitate the process of understanding, recognizing and giving due importance to the contributions made by women and men. </li></ul><ul><li>To examine the reasons for subordination of women and for male domination. </li></ul><ul><li>To empower women to attain gender justice and an effective role in all decision- making processes. </li></ul><ul><li>To evolve development alternatives with women. </li></ul><ul><li>To ensure visibility of women as change agents for the enhancement of the status of women. </li></ul><ul><li>To identify and understand roots of inequality that result in invisibility, marginalisation and exclusion of women from the intellectual world. </li></ul><ul><li>To support social action aimed at equality, development, peace, education, health and employment of women. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Concepts in Gender Economics <ul><li>‘ Sex’ Versus ‘Gender’ </li></ul><ul><li>Oppression and Exploitation </li></ul><ul><li>Socialisation </li></ul><ul><li>Social Construction </li></ul><ul><li>Deconstruction and Reconstruction </li></ul><ul><li>Matriarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Patriarchy </li></ul>
  5. 5. Trends in Feminism <ul><li>Liberal Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Marxist Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Radical Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Psychoanalytical Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Post Modern Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Eco Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Black Feminists </li></ul><ul><li>Womanist </li></ul>
  6. 6. Gender Based Division of labour <ul><li>existed in all societies for thousands of years. </li></ul><ul><li>In India, it is based on the ideology of male dominance, caste and social norms of ‘purity and pollution’. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also based upon the notion that women are physically weaker than men and are not suited for physically arduous tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s biological tasks of monthly menstruation and pregnancy, confined them to subsistence economy such as lowly paid agricultural work, handicrafts and also household work. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Gender and the Process of Economic Development <ul><li>The incorporation of subsistence economies into ‘modern’ market economies has brought into question the traditional gender-based division of labour as an organizing principle in the rural and urban sector because of the basic injustice it perpetuates. </li></ul><ul><li>Women end up doing the least skilled work and are underpaid or are expected to contribute to survival needs of the family without any corresponding benefits. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Contribution of Esther Boserup <ul><li>Esther Boserup, in her pioneering work brought to fore African women’s crucial contribution towards food security and explained the political economy of polygamy in Africa that allowed men to concentrate and centralize economic resources thro’ unpaid and backbreaking labour of women and children in the subsistence economy that did not have much animal resources for cultivation of land. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Economic Basis and Functioning of Patriarchy and Matrilineal societies, structures and systems <ul><li>Patriarchy thrives on control of women’s sexuality, fertility and labour for male hegemony over economic resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical tools provided by GE are extremely useful to deal with the socio-economic and legal issues concerning marriage, divorce, custody of children, guardianship rights, alimony, maintenance, property rights of mother, sister, daughter, legally wedded wives and her child/ children, co-wives and their children, keeps and their children and the issues concerning adoption. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Market, Mobility and Women <ul><li>Globalisation induced mobility of women has posed new problems for women in the labour market. Hence, efforts at empowerment of women by 550 feminist economists who are functioning in 31 countries under the banner of International Association of Feminist Economics to provide DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women) gain tremendous importance in the contemporary context. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Gender Bias in Theories of Value, Distribution and Population <ul><li>Neoclassical analysis based on law of marginal utility in consumer analysis, marginal cost in the product pricing and marginal productivity have come under severe scrutiny. </li></ul><ul><li>In the area of home economics, Nobel Laureate Gary Backer’s model of ‘competing interests’ in distribution of resources in the households and higher ‘opportunity cost’ of men as ‘bread-earner’ and women as ‘home-maker’ is criticized by women’s studies scholars as sexist and statusquo-ist. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Cooperative Conflict <ul><li>Amartya Kumar Sen and Martha Nassbaum have put forward a concept of ‘cooperative conflict’ in the theory of distribution. </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist Reading of Economic Laws: Marginal Productivity Theory and Laws of Maximisation form basic tenets of Gender Economics. </li></ul><ul><li>The feminists economists also believe in engendering micro and macro economics. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Feminist Criticism of Conventional Indictors of Development <ul><li>Women in Development </li></ul><ul><li>Women and Development </li></ul><ul><li>Gender and Development </li></ul>Gender Empowerment Measures also include share in income, share in parliamentary seats and an index that includes share in administrative and managerial jobs and share in professional and technical posts
  14. 14. Visibility of women in statistics and data system <ul><li>we need an accurate data-base, area studies and time allocation studies, studies on energy expenditure and food consumption patterns among women of different communities, public utility services such as safe transport, public urinals, women's room in the office. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender economists have done pioneering work to understand demographic profile of women and sex-ratio. Formulation of gender aware data system on literacy, education level, employment and earnings, health and well-being helps proper planning and policy making for empowerment of women. </li></ul><ul><li>Inter -district, Inter-state and Cross country comparisions of women's empowerment are obtained from Gender related Development Index (GDI). </li></ul><ul><li>GDI owes its origin to its precursor, the HDI (Human Development Index), three main components of which are per capita income, educational attainment and life-expectancy which is a proxy for health attainment. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Neoclassical versus Institutional Approach <ul><li>Neoclassical approach of consumer’s rationality (Maximisation of utility) and producers’ rationality (Maximisation of profit) has come under massive attack from the women’s studies scholars as they find it ahistorical, simplistic and gender –neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>Its philosophy of Laissez Faire does not acknowledge the unequal power relations determined by colonialism, neo-colonialism and segmentation in the labour, factor and product markets based on caste, class, ethnicity, race, religion, age and gender. </li></ul><ul><li>As against this, institutional approach is found more realistic and hence appropriate as it takes into consideration historical, socio-cultural, geographical and political dynamics in economic analysis. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Thank you