Global Political Economy of Feminists

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There has been a need over the years to give feminists a chance to be part of the international political economy (IPE). This was driven by the transition in philosophies that first looked at the gender of women within society. On the international political front, feminists have a variety of separate positions. In a variety of fields within culture, feminism is embodied in the international political economy. These fields include social replication and employment, systems of government, and, ultimately, affection and the home. This paper aims to examine the relationship between feminism and the fields described above and the way in which the IPE is affected by them.

Gender and Governance

The term governance has been subject for debate among feminists, but for the purpose of this paper, it refers to exerting control over a particular territory in order dictate the mode of operations[1].Gender on the other hand is the biological aspect of either being male or female. Feminism tends to focus more on the relations between the state and other factors such as the nongovernmental organizations, the civil society, and the global markets. The particular interest in these relations is due to the fact that in the recent past there has been a paradigm shift information of social policies and regulation of capitalist relations. The social policies in most states have paid much emphasis on promoting gendered relations and some have resorted to affirmative action within their territorial boundaries in order to promote trade relations[2].

Initially, the internal structures of the states did not envision the need to mobilize the society on the need to embrace gender-based economic relations. This was also the same on the international scene but after progressive advancements in the society based on thorough research, a revolutionary ideology was manifested which promoted the mainstreaming of gendered processes, particularly in the IPE. Feminism sought to bring about an alternative mode of governance within the society. This alternative is premised on the need for gender equality and empowerment within the jurisdictions of a given territory. This will ensure that the policy makers put in provisions for gendered policies on both political and economic aspects of the society.

Social Reproduction and Work

Feminists have found the need to draw a distinction between work and social reproduction. The latter is enshrined in the various social institutions through everyday lives, gendered labor and discourse[3]. Social reproduction is known to comprise of three building blocks: the first one is the biological aspect which relates to emotional and sexual that one offers within the family set up. The second aspect relates to the passing down of cultural practices from one generation to the other in order to foster strong relations within the community. The final one is providing of various products and services within the household that are either utilized or consumed by members of the family with no expectations of monetary gain.

Feminists have discovered that with as much as these social reproduction activities are not necessarily termed as work, they usually take quite a considerable amount of time and effort. Recently these social reproductive activities have been encapsulated under the concept known as ‘care diamond’[4]. In an analysis of this concept, that is a considerable level of gender inequalities. The various customs and cultures have sentenced the female gender to provide these care services in most households. This bias towards one gender is due to the fact that they are not adequately represented and therefore not given a lot of priority in the policy considerations. The second reason why the female gender is prejudiced upon in relation to caregiving services is the fact that the society seems not to place much consideration on the value of the time of the women in the employment sector. Women are often underpaid when compared to the men and in other cases, they are not permanently employed when compared to their men counterparts.

Therefore in order to mitigate the prejudice that is being experienced the state needs to provide safeguards that regulate these care services between the labor market, the community and the family as a unit[5]. Policy considerations need to be put in place by the state in order to strike a reasonable balance between family relations and work. These policies would foster the participation of women in the labor market and still ensure that they take care of their families.

Intimacy and the Household

Various policy considerations have been put in place in order to cater for the family as a unit. These considerations have come about after the diverse regimes have decided to embrace the privatization of care. Child care has been given a particular focus with a number of legislative instruments that have been put in place to protect the interests of the child[6]. The states have put in place surveillance systems that evaluate the parenting strategies that are being practiced. International Organizations such as the United Nations have also paid close attention to the caregiving issue that has been prevalent in most parts of the world. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2009 met in order to highlight the issue of caregiving. The central theme revolved about equality in sharing of responsibilities between the male and female in relation to caregiving[7].

According to Alexander, there was need for feminist scholars to channel their energy to evaluate the linkage between political economy and models of kinship from a queer perspective[8]. This ideology came as a result of discerning that the heteronormative nature of the political economy was an impediment to the study of gender. Contemporary scholars such as Sasha Roseneil advanced the idea that feminism sought to deviate from the heteronormative notion on care provision[9]. This paradigm shift led Roseneil to investigate the benefits of friendship in caregiving. This ideology was further expounded to highlight the manner with which other people within the society would care for each other and also described sex as a mode of care. These contemporary views on feminism also served to highlight the various ways in which the states have put measures to enhance the rate of women who engage in employment opportunities within the society. The increase in feminists in the international policy economy can be credited to the state and international policies that have fought to curtail the belief perseverance that reduced women’s worth within the society.

Conclusion

A thorough scrutiny of the underlying themes and concepts that influence the feminist political economy is important since it enables one understand the how micro and macro trends relate. The evaluation also is important in order to discern the various challenges that are experienced in the society due to the gender-based discriminations and also enables one to understand the various safeguards that have been put in place by the state and other institutions to remedy the bias. From the various contributions on the subject matter, it was evident that in order to put in place new policy considerations.

References

Alexander, M. Jacqui. 1994. "Not Just (Any) Body Can Be A Citizen: The Politics Of Law, Sexuality And Postcoloniality In Trinidad And Tobago And The Bahamas". Feminist Review, no. 48: 5. doi:10.2307/1395166.

Bedford, Kate. 2011. "Care And The 53Rd Commission On The Status Of Women: A Transformative Policy Space?". Reproductive Health Matters 19 (38): 197-207. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(11)38576-x.

Hieda, Takeshi. 2011. "Comparative Political Economy Of Long-Term Care For Elderly People: Political Logic Of Universalistic Social Care Policy Development". Social Policy & Administration 46 (3): 258-279. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9515.2011.00818.x.

Laslett, Barbara, and Johanna Brenner. 1989. "Gender And Social Reproduction: Historical Perspectives". Annual Review Of Sociology 15 (1): 381-404. doi:10.1146/annurev.so.15.080189.002121.

Prentice, Susan. 2009. "High Stakes: The “Investable” Child And The Economic Reframing Of Childcare". Signs: Journal Of Women In Culture And Society 34 (3): 687-710. doi:10.1086/593711.

Rai, Shirin M. 2000. "Gender Politics In Global Governance". Women's Studies International Forum 23 (2): 266. doi:10.1016/s0277-5395(00)00085-6.

Roseneil, Sasha. 2004. "Why We Should Care About Friends: An Argument For Queering The Care Imaginary In Social Policy". Social Policy And Society 3 (4): 409-419. doi:10.1017/s1474746404002039.

Waylen, Georgina. 2006. "You Still Don’t Understand: Why Troubled Engagements Continue Between Feminists And (Critical) IPE". Review Of International Studies 32 (01): 145. doi:10.1017/s0260210506006966.


[1] M. Jacqui Alexander, "Not Just (Any) Body Can Be A Citizen: The Politics Of Law, Sexuality And Postcoloniality In Trinidad And Tobago And The Bahamas", Feminist Review, no. 48 (1994): 5.

[2] Shirin M Rai, "Gender Politics In Global Governance", Women's Studies International Forum 23, no. 2 (2000): 266.

[3] Barbara Laslett and Johanna Brenner, "Gender And Social Reproduction: Historical Perspectives", Annual Review of Sociology 15, no. 1 (1989): 381-404.

[4] Takeshi Hieda, "Comparative Political Economy Of Long-Term Care For Elderly People: Political Logic Of Universalistic Social Care Policy Development", Social Policy & Administration 46, no. 3 (2011): 258-270.

[5] Ibid., 273.

[6] Susan Prentice, "High Stakes: The “Investable” Child And The Economic Reframing Of Childcare", Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 34, no. 3 (2009): 687-710.

[7] Kate Bedford, "Care And The 53Rd Commission On The Status Of Women: A Transformative Policy Space?", Reproductive Health Matters 19, no. 38 (2011): 197-207.

[8] M. Jacqui Alexander, "Not Just (Any) Body Can Be A Citizen: The Politics of Law, Sexuality And Postcoloniality In Trinidad And Tobago And The Bahamas", Feminist Review, no. 48 (1994): 5.

[9] Sasha Roseneil, "Why We Should Care About Friends: An Argument For Queering The Care Imaginary In Social Policy", Social Policy and Society 3, no. 4 (2004): 409-419.

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