The Women's Budget Series(2000 Issue): Custom and Excise Paper
Feminist analysis of the macroeconomic dimensions of public finance(for instance, Elson and Cagatay 2000) suggests that neither the neo-liberal, nor the Keynesian, approach is wholly adequate from the point of view of gender equality. The neo-liberal approach tends to result in deflationary bias and commoditisation or privatisation bias, resulting in outcomes such as: unemployment, ‘informalisation’ of paid work, and inadequate public services, and low levels of social protection. The Keynesian (and other heterodox approaches) are preferable to the neo-liberal approach, but they tend to be marked by implicit or explicit ‘male breadwinner bias’, in which priority is given to men’s employment, as they are assumed to be the breadwinners; and women are treated in public finance as dependents of men, their access to public services and social protection conditioned by their relations to men. Neither approach takes into account the unpaid work required to sustain families and communities; work which is disproportionately done by women. Because of this, both approaches are likely to result in underinvestment in the public services that women require in order to achieve a more equal balance between time spent in production and social reproduction; and in forms of social protection that recognise women as autonomous citizens, with claims in their own right.
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