Article by Andrea Rodríguez Valdés, RIPESS Europe
On September 23, RIPESS Europe and RedPes organized a Webinar on Feminist Economics and Promotion of Care in The Workplace, in which we had the pleasure of listening to María Atienza of REAS Network of Networks of Spain, Luciane Lucas, from the Center for Studies of Portugal and the University of Coimbra, and Josette Combes, from the RIPESS Europe and MES France team. This webinar was attended by 28 people from the network and other guests.
With the aim of pointing out the oppressions generated by the capitalist system and building alternatives, we organized this meeting that has given us many tools to collectively learn to build safer work environments. As Maria Atienza expressed, it is important to point out the alliance between capital and heteropatriarchy to understand how these two oppressions converge. In this sense, reproductive work – carried out mainly by women – which involves the reproduction of labor and care itself, is fundamental for the maintenance of the system, –although it does so in a subordinate way –. In short, if the reproductive work stops, everything else stops. Therefore, women’s bodies, their wisdoms, their practices and desires have been uprooted for the benefit of the reproduction of capital and growth.
As a result of these foundations on which capitalism is based, we have a completely invisible and non-salaried domestic work. As if it were an iceberg, we only see the productive sphere, where paid work is carried out, the mercantile activities that are part of the public sphere and have traditionally been occupied by men, and the private, reproductive sphere, where we place the sustainability of life, care, community building etc” which following this sexual division of labor, it has been occupied mainly by women, and to this day, especially by migrant women from the Global South.
Image making the invisible visible by Emma Gascó
Feminist economics first of all sets out its premises by pointing out all these practices, making it clear that the economy goes beyond the market, that work, as María says, is all the activities that sustain life, that care is at the centre, since we cannot live without it, and that gender is an essential category of analysis.
In this sense, the Economy will only be Social and Solidarity Economy if it is also feminist, since to ignore this analysis is a huge mistake and does not allow us to build the necessary tools to confront the neoliberal capitalist system that we inhabit. But we still have a long way to go, and despite the fact that our organisations declare themselves feminist in theory, there is still work to be done when it comes to developing it in practice, and above all to develop this feminism from an intersectional logic that emphasises that there are many other oppressions that intersect, such as race, age, class, gender identity or sexual orientation, religion, etc. What are our organisations doing to include all these diversities? What solutions is the SSE creating today for migrants? For people with functional diversity? For trans people who are not even taken into account in the logic of the system?
Luciane Lucas asked us all these questions in her intervention, addressing the limits of mainstream Feminism (white western, bourgeois) to develop a real Feminist Economy.
Finally, Josette Combes, following this logic, and guided by her very long experience in working in Social and Solidarity Economy organisations, addressed the importance of transferring all these questions to our workplaces, starting the change in ourselves through the reformulation of the work culture from a feminist point of view. Among other things, Josette mentioned the importance of awareness-raising activities, launching internal and external campaigns from our organisations against sexism, racism, LGTBIphobia, how the selection processes for new staff are carried out in the organisation, if there is any kind of data to monitor equality within the organisation, etc.
In short, this meeting, which is part of the project For a Care Work Environment (4 a Care Work Environment) of FundAction’s Rethink programme, allowed us to highlight all these reflections and to continue moving towards a social, solidarity, feminist and anti-racist economy.
With the collaboration of: REAS Red de Redes, MES France, CSA Gralha, Feminismos sobre Rodas, Instituto Politécnico, Casa da Esquina, Aldraba and other researchers.
Access the webinar here.