Category:Ecofeminism, Feminist Economy and the Care Economy
The pioneers of the ecofeminist movement in the United States in the 1980s, who opposed projects that were predatory on ecosystems, "reclaimed the proximity between the female body and nature and denounced the aggressions to which capitalist and patriarchal society subjected them . It is because women and nature are objectified, deemed passive and destined to serve men that they are associated in discourse and behaviour as equally inferior". . Patriarchal oppression of women and capitalist exploitation of the planet must be fought together.
As we shall see below, ecofeminism is in line with most feminist positions, starting by the invisibilisation of women's work and role in the distribution of production tasks in the capitalist system."What ecofeminism adds to previous approaches is the question of ecological urgency and the claim to the essential role that women play in preserving the planet's vital balances".
One trend of ecofeminism crosses ecological economics, feminism and solidarity economics, as Yayo Herrero López puts it in her book: Una mirada para cambiar la película. Ecología, ecofeminismo y sostenibilidad (ebook), Editorial Dyskolo, 2016.
Françoise d'Eaubonne (1920-2005), a libertarian writer and pioneer of the feminist movement and degrowth, is considered in France to be one of the authors behind the concept of ecofeminism. (D'Eaubonne, 1974,1978).
In Europe, Josette Combes points out that it is in Spain that the movement is the most organised in relation to the social and solidarity economy: REAS, Red de redes (Red de Economia Alternativa y Solidaria) systematically includes ecofeminism as one of the major themes of its events. There is a Spanish ecofeminist network working to bring about a different economic vision that links social justice and climate justice, fights discrimination and promotes the empowerment of women.
According to Maria Atienza, from REAS, Red de redes, as formulated in socioeco.org
The Feminist Economy (FE) has been building critiques and reflections in all thematic fields of economics and in relation to the different schools of thought, making a particular critique of neoclassical theory. Several of the fundamental contributions it has made are the rethinking of the concept of work and the role of care and the sexual division of labour.
The FE argues that the main economic goal of society is the sustainability of life. This implies positing the existence of care and affection needs that are not present in the market, the central axis of the economic and production relations of the capitalist system, and that, therefore, not all needs can be covered by (monetised) material resources.
Feminist Economics and the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) share an interest in placing life at the centre of the economy. Feminist economics also stresses that it is not possible to advance towards the sustainability of life without turning the economic system upside down, i.e. rethinking our activities from the field of care and introducing changes that, with a gender perspective, correct the inequalities of the system in which we live, from public institutions to the private sphere, including social and solidarity economy organisations and enterprises.
The SSE must position itself in all these debates and contribute to the feminist project of building non-sexist and non-patriarchal societies because no alternative proposal can be built without transforming the relations of power and inequality between women and men and because the best way to break with capitalist logic is to recover the importance of bodies, affection and care.
There are many areas in which we can and must work for the deployment of a Solidarity and Feminist Economy; from the field of public policies; from the mainstreaming of the feminist perspective within our organisations and our projects; from the generation of alliances with the feminist movement, etc.
The joint articulation of the feminist and solidarity vision is therefore one of the challenges to ultimately strengthen the practices of SSE organisations and entities from feminist contributions and perspectives in order to enhance their transformative capacity.
The Care Economy
The neo-liberal economy restricts the notion of "freedom", so fundamental to this ideology, to the freedom to "have done by others" everything that we do not want to put the effort into while attending to our own survival. This work of care, its quality, its adequacy, its responsibility falls on the shoulders of people, often women, who are not paid, or hardly paid, for this primordial work of reproduction of life, leading to situations of inequalities in the labour market or outside it.
"If we assume interdependency and eco-dependency as the material basis of our survival and, therefore, the importance of care for the sustainability of life - understood as a right and not as a privilege - care must be shared in a co-responsible way by society as a whole. "
The care economy proposes a new economic system that implies that : "political, social and economic decisions are taken according to the impact they have on people's lives, and not according to their impact on other economic processes, sometimes unrelated to the general interest, the common good or the sustainability of life itself. On the other hand, it implies providing resources to the reproductive sphere, to the space where the population reproduces itself, where the sustainability of life takes place .
It is imperative that care be taken up as a major political issue, as well as a social and gender justice issue.
Revisiting the notion of "work"
But is also goes hand in hand with the revision of the notion of work, associated with capitalist theories of wage labour. Feminist economics has been particularly fruitful in producing an analytical framework that brings a fresh look at the tension between the current socio-economic system and the sustainability of life.
It has brought to light one of the most silenced elements of industrial society: the division between the economy considered as productive (productive work) and all those tasks that are fundamental to sustaining life and the functioning of the economic system (reproductive work). This invibilisation, this elimination of care in the collective, social and political imaginary, has led to the elimination from the social and political gaze on roles often assumed by women and with a profoundly racialised dimension. Moreover, the deficit of public resources for different care needs and the working conditions in the care market are different situations that materialise the precariousness that is placed on these same people.
A 2019 article in Alternativas economicas stated that "In Spain, 130 million hours are worked daily in unpaid work. There are 16 million people working eight hours a day for free. Women are once again losing rights when caring for dependants. Women do more than 75% of unpaid care work and spend three times as much time on it as men".
Yes! Magazine states in an article of July 2022 : « Of the estimated 48 million people caring for adults, about 41.8 million provide unpaid care,(…). While the work of unpaid caregivers is deeply undervalued, paid home care workers struggle too. Roughly 2 million people make up the home care workforce, which is 86% women, 60% people of color, and 14% immigrants. According to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, nearly 20% of these workers live in poverty ». (The Underground Economy of Unpaid Care, By Julie Poole, July 12 2022).
A growing visbility thanks to feminist economy.
"For almost forty years, this interest has been growing progressively among those who are among those concerned with and concerned with welfare in contemporary societies, especially in feminist thinking, which has shown that the tasks of caring for and nurturing life are essential tasks for social reproduction and everyday wellbeing." For a historical overview, see El trabajo de cuidados. Historia, teoría y políticas, by Cristina Carrasco Bengoa, Cristina Borderias, Teresa Torns , 2019.
Making visible the invisible.
With Ripess NL articles or position papers
- Feminist Economics and Promotion of Care, article of RIPESS Europe newsletter, october 2022, by Andrea Rodríguez Valdés
- L'écoféminisme, une nouvelle approche de l'émancipation des femmes, by Josette Combes,2019
- La vida en el centro ,10 propuestas para afrontar la necesaria transición del modelo de cuidados , REAS Euskadi