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Year: 2009 Type: Policy Brief Language: English

The contents reflect discussions from a Pathways workshop held in May 2008 with participation also from Diane Elson, James Heinz, Sue Himmelweit, Sue Holloway, Ruth Pearson and Janet Veitch. In 2006 the World Bank coined a catchy slogan ‘Gender equality is smart economics’. Said the World Bank’s President in June 2008, “The empowerment of women is smart economics … studies show that investments in women yield large social and economic returns”. Many international aid ministries and United Nations organisations are adopting the World Bank’s argument. It is an approach to women’s economic empowerment that aims to increase a country’s GDP while ignoring the fundamental gender inequalities associated with the unpaid work of household maintenance and sustenance of society on which the market economy depends. The authors propose an agenda for change based on an alternative vision – one in which the economy is shaped for people rather than people for the economy.