Questioning Financial Governance from a Feminist Perspective
Edited by Brigitte Young, Isabella Bakker, Diane Elson
Routledge – 2011 – 184 pages
Questioning Financial Governance from a Feminist Perspective brings together feminist economists and feminist political economists from different countries located in North America and Europe to analyze the ‘strategic silence’ about gender in fiscal and monetary policy, and financial regulation. This silence reflects a set of assumptions that the key instruments of financial governance are gender-neutral. This often masks the ways in which financial governance operates to the disadvantage of women and reinforces gender inequality.
This book examines both the transformations in the governance of finance that predate the financial crisis, as well as some dimension of the crisis itself. The transformations increasingly involved private as well as public forms of power, along with institutions of state and civil society, operating at the local, national, regional and global levels. An important aspect of these transformations has been the creation of policy rules (often enacted in laws) that limit the discretion of national policy makers with respect to fiscal, monetary, and financial sector policies. These policy rules tend to have inscribed in them a series of biases that have gender (as well as class and race-based) outcomes. The biases identified by the authors in the various chapters are the deflationary bias, male breadwinner bias, and commodification bias, adding two new biases: risk bias and creditor bias.
The originality of the book is that its primary focus is on macroeconomic policies (fiscal and monetary) and financial governance from a feminist perspective with a focus on the gross domestic product and its fluctuations and growth, paid employment and inflation, the budget surplus/deficit, levels of government expenditure and tax revenue, and supply of money. The central findings are that the key instruments of financial governance are not gender neutral. Each chapter considers examples of financial governance, and how it relates to the gender order, including divisions of labour, and relations of power and privilege.
This book is key reading for anyone studying feminist economics, and should also be of interest to those researching macroeconomics, political economics and women’s studies.
"For those who seek concrete case studies and empirics on the effects of financial governance on gender inequality, this important book amply fills that niche. Engaging and accessible, the authors present rigorous and novel analyses on how financially-related policies, ranging from taxation to monetary and fiscal policy to credit allocation, serve to reinforce unequal gender relations. For policy makers, the book serves as a useful jumping off point for the development of policies that can promote broadly shared, gender-equitable well-being. This timely collection of essays succeeds in capturing notable gender effects of financialization in evidence in both developed and developing economies".
- Stephanie Seguino, Professor of Economics, University of Vermont, USA and President of International Association for Feminist Economics.
"This volume provides a unique contribution to the academic and policy debates around the financial crisis. It develops sound economic explanations in empirically-based analyses of how neoliberal financial policies disadvantage women. The volume convincingly shows the gender biases inherent in, for example, contractionary inflation targeting, and individualising risk combined with bank bail-outs, corporate tax competition, and underinvestment in (women's) food production. The volume demonstrates how important a feminist perspective is for raising effectiveness as well as equity of financial policies".
- Irene van Staveren, Professor of Pluralist Development Economics, ISS, The Hague.
"This book provides a much-needed intervention that successfully interrupts, interrogates and deconstructs the omission of gender in financial governance. Bringing together some of the best scholarship in feminist political economy and feminist economics, this rich and innovative collection allows us to understand the impact of the strategic silence with regard to gender inequality before and after the Great Crash of 2008".
- Susanne Soederberg, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Global Development Studies & Political Studies, Queen’s University, Canada
Introduction Brigitte Young, Isabella Bakker and Diane Elson 1. Macroeconomics and gender orders in OECD countries Friederike Maier 2. Changing macroeconomic governance and gender orders: the case of Canada Isa Bakker 3. EU macroeconomic governance and gender orders: the case of Austria Elizabeth Klatzer and Christa Schlager 4. Taxation, employment and gender: the case of state taxes in the USA Elissa Braunstein and Caren Grown 5. Central banks, employment and gender in developing countries Elissa Braunstein and James Heintz 6. IMF policies and gender orders: the case of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Diane Elson and Tonia Warnecke 7. The role of gender in governance of the financial sector Helene Schuberth and Brigitte Young 8. Macroeconomic governance, gendered inequality, and global crises Stephen Gill and Adrienne Roberts
Brigitte Young is Professor of Political Science at the University of Münster, Germany.
Isabella Bakker is Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada.
Diane Elson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, UK.