Rice University-based Feminist Economics journal to co-sponsor policy symposium at the UN

Feminist Economics, a peer-reviewed journal based at Rice University, is co-sponsoring a symposium on financial crises and gender-equitable economic growth policies Jan. 21-22 at the United Nations with UN Women, the U.N. entity working toward gender equality and the empowerment of women. Feminist Economics provides a forum for dialogue and debate about feminist economic perspectives.

Feminist Economics Editor Diana Strassmann (left) and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet discuss financial crises and gender-equitable economic growth policies at the symposium Jan. 21. (Photo by Catianne Tijerina, UN Women)

“The goal of the two-day event with UN Women is to create a new agenda for growth policies that are broad-based, sustainable, gender-equitable and inclusive in the wake of worldwide fiscal crises,” said Diana Strassmann, editor and founder of Feminist Economics, the award-winning journal of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE). The event will also highlight research that will be published in the journal’s forthcoming special issue on “Critical and Feminist Perspectives on Financial and Economic Crises.”

“Fiscal crises and the policy responses to them often have different impacts on men and women,” Strassmann said. “Feminist economic research shows that policy responses can be more effective if they are built on models that are explicitly designed to take into account differential gender effects. For example, cutbacks in health services may lead to more women staying home with sick family members rather than participating in the paid labor force. The symposium will help academics and policy experts develop a common research agenda to achieve growth with prosperity shared by all.”

Strassmann, the Carolyn and Fred McManis Distinguished Professor in the Practice of the Humanities, is also director of Rice’s Program on Poverty, Justice and Human Capabilities based in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality.

Participants in the symposium will include U.N. diplomats, policy experts, economists and media representatives. Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women and former president of Chile, and Strassmann will jointly open the symposium. Strassmann will also participate in the closing panel of economists and development experts from the World Bank, the U.N. Research Institute for Social Development and IAFFE.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is providing partial funding for the symposium. Feminist Economics and IAFFE are in the last year of a three-year, $1.5 million grant from Sida to promote feminist economic research and to educate policymakers about feminist points of view on economic issues.

For more information about Feminist Economics, visit www.feministeconomics.org. A UN Women article on the conference, “Economies rebound faster from crisis when responses focus on women’s needs,” is available at www.unwomen.org/2013/01/economies-rebound-faster-from-crisis-when-responses-focus-on-womens-needs.

About Jeff Falk