Governments are looking to implement austerity measures when the world is facing an elevated cost of living crisis and trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2023, 85 per cent of the world's population will live in the grip of austerity measures. There will be unavoidable impacts for most women, girls, and non-binary people.
Austerity measures are defined mainly by rapid and deep cuts to public spending (frequently education, health and social protection), often alongside increases in tax revenues, specifically via regressive or indirect means rather than taxation on wealth.
These economic policy decisions are about what – and who – those in power value. Under austerity, trillions of dollars are used to support corporations. This often comes with an increase in private sector deregulation, even as those on the lowest incomes are left without the support they need, with jobs becoming fewer and less secure.
Our report details how austerity policies blend patriarchy and neoliberal ideology to further exploit the most oppressed people within society and deliberately dismiss their needs. The commodification and exploitation of women's labour – often poorly paid and made deeply insecure by the corrosion of labour regulations within market-driven globalization – is both a class and a gender issue that offers one example of this.
Our findings show that austerity is not just a gendered policy; it is also a gendered process in its everydayness – the way it permeates the daily lives of women, specifically: in their incomes, their care responsibilities, their ability to access services as essential as health, water and transportation, and in their overall safety and freedom from physical violence in the home, at work, and on the street.
Nawi – Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective
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