The feminist economy concerns the relationship between feminism and economy at several levels. An important part involves questioning how the conventional economy values the reproductive sector, in other words, what is valued and what is not valued in economic processes. The three panel members who took part in the seminar Feminist Economy were each given five minutes to define the concept and to apply it in a wider context. The first to speak was Anna Giotas Sandquist from Botkyrka Municipality.
“The municipality has a very important role in promoting equality. At the local level, in a way we’re suppliers of what makes our lives possible. It concerns, for example, salaries and work conditions. It’s at municipal level that we must work to attain the Government’s equality goals.
Anna Giotas also pointed out that financial independence is important for everyone, and that the gender pay gap today is like a chasm. She gave as an example the average annual salary for a woman in Fittja and compared it with the average annual salary for a man in Tullinge. The salaries differed by several hundred thousand Swedish kronor.
Today, feminist economy is an academic field. What is problematised in the field often concerns what we value and what we choose not to value. An example is unpaid household work, something that is mainly carried out by women and that is not included in a country’s GNP.
What is the actual value of unpaid work, the panel members were asked by the Moderator, Alexandra Pascalidou. How can we persuade the powers-that-be that a feminine economy is vital and even profitable?
“I think we should turn the question around and, instead, ask what inequality costs in modern society,” says doctoral student Anna Klerby.
“I think it’s important that as many as possible get involved. Go to the Municipal Executive Board meetings and ask questions that raise the issue of the feminist economy. An important rule of thumb can be to ask who gets what, on what terms, and with what results,” concludes Anna Giotas Sandquist.
Text: Cecilia Lindvall