The Effect of Women on the International Political Economy

Topics: Economics, Gender role, Gender Pages: 6 (2079 words) Published: April 16, 2007
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The feminist critique of the International Political Economy (IPE) analyses gender roles in society and its influence upon our current global economic climate. Feminists economists are concerned with the status of women, their inclusion into society. It focuses on the importance of the household, the family, and the influence of reproduction on global economics.

The struggle with the feminist critique is that it is young in comparison to theories such as Mercantilism, and is evolving as the role of women in society continues to change. It is still understood that when one talks about women or gender they are associating the terms with "stereotypes, and social patterns that a culture constructs on the basis of actual or perceived differences between men and women. Women's lesser average brain weight than men, for example, is a biological characteristic. The nineteenth century interpretation of this fact as implying that women are therefore less than rational is an example of a social belief, that is, a construction of gender." Such socially instated ideas in our global subconscience, influence the way we rule our world today.

In 1988, Marilyn Waring a feminists economist released a book called If Women Counted; A New Feminist Economics. Her work questioned the effect on the International Political Economy if women had been included in society since the beginning. She questioned the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA), the organization through with all countries calculate the value of their transactions. Her work, and the work of other Feminist economists, gave rise to the concept that women's inclusion into society is integral for one to properly understand the worlds economic climate.

Through her research Waring came to understand that women were classified as ‘nonproducers', (housewives and mother) and were therefore not included in the economic cycle, consequently women shouldn't expect to receive any benefits that flowed from production. She said: "When international reports and writers refer to women as statistically or economically invisible, it is the UNSNA that has made it so. When it dawns on you that militarism and the destruction of the environment are recorded as growth, it is the UNSNA that has made it so. When you are seeking out the most vicious tools of colonisation, those that can obliterate a culture and a nation, a tribe of a people's value system, then rank the UNSNA among those tools. When you yearn for a breath of nature's fresh air or a glass or a glass of radioactive-free water, remember that the UNSNA says that both are worthless." Waring's writings were a direct attack upon the UNSNA document, and brought light to all the areas of society that women do have a large part in.

Feminist economists believe that a nation's annual budget should fairly reflect all parts of society. It should take in account who not only those who do paid work, but also unpaid. It should include children who work, and understand that often these children are too young to do the type of work they are forced to. It should question if people are housed adequately, and try to understand the eventual health costs of pollution created by industry. This form of economic analysis does not deal with purely the numbers, the reason's for, the need for, and the consequences of our constant struggle to strengthen out economies, upon ones country. Economists such as Waring believe that such a budget would terrify many politicians, but with the slow rise of Feminist Economics politicians and economists alike will begin to understand the value of such a budget.

The recent World Economic Forum (WEF), held in Geneva in 2005, saw that worlds first serious attempt to assess the global ‘gender gap'. Gender gap being; the gap between men and women in the five critical areas of "economic...

Bibliography: Julie A. Nelson. "Feminism and Economics", The Journal of Economic Perspectives 9:2 (Spring 1995), Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
Marilyn Waring. Counting for Nothing:What Men Value and What Women are Worth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1999. Second Edition.
Augusto Lopez-Carlos, Saadia Zahidi, "Women 's Empowerment; Measuring the Global Gender Gap", World Economic Forum:
2005 World Economic Forum.

"Acid Horrors" The Economist, 17th January 1998, pp. 35-36
Heather B. Hamilton "Rwanda 's Women: The Key to Reconstruction",, 10 May 2000
Sabine Dolan, "UNICEF Executive Director Ann M Veneman praises Rwanda 's efforts for children in fight against HIV/AIDS",, 14th February 2006
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