A feminist analysis of neoliberalism and austerity policies in the UK

Spring 2019
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.71.02.2019

Economic decisions - such as where investment is increased and or withdrawn, which services will flourish and which will be run down, whose living standards will be protected or boosted and whose reduced - are not gender neutral. Neoliberal policies in particular have disproportionately affected women, particularly low-income and BAME women, through their lack of interest in social investment and the cuts they are making to the resources and public services that sustain life. They treat women’s unpaid labour as an expandable and costless resource that can absorb all the extra work that results from these cuts. This article discusses some of these effects, drawing in particular on data from the Women’s Budget Group and work by feminist political economists. It also makes the case for investment in the social infrastructure as an engine of sustainable economic growth, and argues against a focus solely on investment in physical infrastructure and the creation of paid employment.