Friday, March 11, 2016

Feminist Economics

Much of the inequality women experience boils down to economic inequality.

Here's an article in The Economist reporting that there is now a branch of economics called "feminist economics" to study this inequality and its causes as well as any progress in reducing the gender gap women face.

Here's a telling comment from Alfred Marshall, a 19th C. economist (from the article):

“If you compete with us, we shan’t marry you,” he once gallantly warned the fairer sex. In his book, Principles of Economics, he described the field as “the study of men as they live and move and think in the ordinary business of life”.  

There's even a journal called Feminist Economics.

Yay!  I wish Virginia Woolf were here to observe this progress.

In her 1937 book Three Guineas, she notes that one woman surveyed English laws and made the case that married women should be allowed to own their own property.  In 1871 this change in the law was approved.  

This woman was Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon.  She and a friend, Emily Davies, noticed that in 1861, education was only nominally open to women, so in 1869 they founded a college for women that became Girton College in Cambridge.

These changes for women only happened because of economic resources these two women possessed.

Thank you to John Arthur for forwarding to me the link to this article--from his Twitterfeed.

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