GENDER AND POLITICAL ECONOMY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE
LAW AND SOCIETY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING
Friday July 15th
10:15 to 12 noon – Gender and Political Economy Roundtable I:
New Approaches to Gender and Political Economy
Panel Description: Conceptions of gender, sex, sexuality and the family are constitutive of, not peripheral to, global legal orders in their socioeconomic dimensions. The goal of this roundtable is to bring together perspectives on the relationship between gender roles and the legal, social and cultural norms and institutions that shape markets and economies, in the context of the Gender and Political Economy (GPE) International Research Collaborative.
- Libby Adler, Northeastern U. Law School
- Abstract: Regulating the Domain Called Beauty: Reflecting on Cuban Avenues to LGBTQ Law Reform. This project investigates contrasting law reform trajectories for lgbtq populations in the US and Cuba. Lacking the higher order rights on which US advocates have relied, Cuban progress has occurred on socialist terms, principally in public health and education. The rights-orientation of US advocacy has resulted in racial and economic disparity within the lgbtq community. While the redistributive methods of the Cuban state have led to some broadly allocated benefits, global economic forces since the Cold War have resulted in stratification along familiar hierarchies of privilege. This study traces the multidetermined process of lgbtq legal advancement under different political-economic conditions.
- Nkatha Kabira, IRC Co-Chair, U. Nairobi Law Faculty
- Abstract: Rebuilding the Economy Through Women’s Eyes: Women’s Experiences with Economic Stimulus Packages and other Social Protection Safety Nets during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Kenya. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected Kenya’s employment landscape. The pandemic has had adverse impacts on men and women, particularly business owners and women in the informal sector. The government enacted numerous rules, regulations, and policies in response to this. Key, among these, was the economic stimulus packages. In addition, citizens and citizens groups developed economic response measures to fill in gaps in the stimulus packages. However, the stimulus packages and the response measures were temporary. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the Government of Kenya’s Economic Stimulus Packages and Social Protection safety nets during the Covid 19 pandemic and their implications for WEE/ the extent to which these packages have promoted WEE in formal and informal employment. These measures contributed to the vulnerabilities of women workers in the informal sector. The measures resulted in business closures, increased costs, loss of income, and lack of access to basic commodities such as food and water. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in four counties in Kenya, namely, Nairobi, Kitui, Nakuru, and Kiambu, this paper documents women’s experiences and knowledge with Economic Stimulus packages and other Social Protection Safety Nets. The chapter identifies and documents lessons learned from women’s experiences and knowledge on informal and societal measures used to fill the gaps in the Government of Kenya’s COVID-19 economic stimulus packages.
- Kerry Rittich, U. Toronto Law Faculty
- Abstract: Distinctions between productive and non-productive work, typically tracking market and non-market sites of labour, have long been in the crosshairs of those analyzing gender equality and processes of racialization. Refusing such distinctions, the work of three feminist thinkers – Selma James, Bina Agarwal and Gargi Bhattacharyya – suggest why investment in heightened levels of market participation might represent a highly contingent, and deeply problematic, path towards autonomy and power for marginalized social groups. At the heart of the conundrum lies ongoing reliance on valueless and infinitely expendable resources, labour and people within normative models of contemporary political economy.
- Hila Shamir, Tel Aviv Law Faculty
- Abstract: Restructuring Labour Law for Supply Chain Capitalism. This paper seeks to outline the contours of restructuring of labour law to fit the new structures of capital, and processes of supply and production in Global Value Chains (GVCs). Labour law is currently based on a dyadic employer-employee structure that seeks to build workers’ power vis-à-vis an employer, who is presumed to be the owner of capital. Yet this is not the case under supply chain capitalism. Under supply chain capitalism workers unionizing and bargaining with an employer who is a supplier are often not bargaining with “capital” – they are not bargaining with the brand, or the lead firm that makes the largest profit out of their labour, and who determines key aspects of their employment conditions through control of product specification, timeframe for production, quotas required, and the price in which the product will be bought. The current structure of supply and production via GVCs means that traditional labour institutions and labour law have extremely little power to transform workplace distribution of power. The paper identifies key facets of labour law and labour institutions that need to be reimagined or significantly adapted in order to offer effective representation for workers in GVCs.
- Chantal Thomas, Cornell Law School, IRC Co-Chair – Roundtable Chair
- As chair I will mainly be moderating, but I will also try to summarize some of our discussions and conclusions over the past year.
2:45 to 4:30 — Gender and Political Economy Roundtable II:
Revisiting Distributive Analysis
Panel Description: This panel seeks to revisit distributive analysis and what it means for Gender and Political Economy (GPE). It seeks to explore the relationship between gender, sex discrimination law, the regulation of sex work, social exclusion of female workers, privatization of social welfare functions, and neoliberalism. This panel seeks to theorize the gap between the law on the books and the law in action and how it distributes power and opportunities. Using comparative case studies and different sets of analytical tools, the panel articulates sets of methods or priors that help clarify the terms of engagement. The panel also assesses the role of informality and the way it should be assessed in analysis of law and GPE.
- Aziza Ahmed, UC Irvine Law School
- Abstract: Feminism’s Medicine: Law, Science, and Social Movements in the AIDS Response. I will present a chapter of my book looking at how Law and Economics scholars (in debate with feminists at the time) conceptualized sex as a bargain between two people in a market and how this idea of a “sex bargain” shaped feminist advocacy and the AIDS response.
- Helena Alviar, Sciences Po Ecole de Droit
- Abstract: The Political Economy of Mining and Its Effects on Women. Mining is central for the Colombian economy and has been privileged by governmental policies for the last 30 years as the country has transitioned from mostly exporting coffee to becoming an oil, gas, and coal producer. Despite its economic significance, it scarcely employs women. Policies geared towards solving the scant representation of women in the mining sector are too centered upon a superficial understanding of equality that does not take into consideration how economic development policies promote resource concentration and exclude women in diverse ways. The presentation will analyze the political economy of mining and its effects on women has had upon women’s access to work, public resources, and power.
- Rachel Rebouche, Temple U. Law School (via Zoom)
- Abstract: Gestational Surrogacy Contracts During the Pandemic. This project assesses the challenges of negotiating, drafting, and enforcing gestational surrogacy contracts during the pandemic. Taking the United States as a case study, I argue that new legislation, which attempts to protect the interests of intended parents and surrogates through rights to parentage and bodily autonomy, respectively, is unlikely to affect what happens on the ground. Indeed, when conflicts arise, parties look to professionals, such as lawyers and fertility brokers, who in turn continue to rely on largely unenforceable contract provisions to diffuse conflict. These practices highlight the power of professionals and agencies – repeat players with their own agendas. Disputes over vaccination highlight the limits of honoring statutory and contractual commitments to surrogate autonomy and belie the assumption that surrogacy is an act of altruism, rather than economic exchange.
- Philomila Tsoukala, Georgetown Law Center – Discussant (via Zoom) (tbc)
- Kerry Rittich, U. Toronto Law Faculty – Chair
4:45 to 6:30 — Gender and Political Economy Roundtable III:
Transnational and Comparative Perspectives
Panel Description: This panel session will bring together comparative perspectives on the relationship between gender roles and the legal, social and cultural norms and institutions that shape markets and economies during rapidly changing times. With growing awareness of wealth and income inequality in both developed and developing countries, the time is ripe for study of how social groupings around gender, sex and sexuality relate to economic inequality analysis. The objective is to critically interrogate assumptions embedded in current approaches to gender and the political economy with a view to contributing to a framework for a comprehensive distributional analysis of gender in the law, and to do so in a way that attends to both the role of theory in action and the role of action in theory.
- Deborah Dinner, Cornell Law School (via Zoom)
- Abstract: Difference as Proxy for Risk: Between Antidiscrimination and Actuarial Logics. This paper analyzes debates about sex discrimination in private insurance during the 1970s and 1980s. I examine the tension between feminist anti-stereotyping principles and actuarial logics, as a means to explore changing conceptions of equality in this period. The former suggested sex should not serve as a basis for risk assessment, while the latter suggested that biological and behavioral differences between men and women made sex an appropriate category of risk classification. I argue that the liberal feminist position in these debates reinforced an individualist interpretation of antidiscrimination law, which ultimately undermined redistributive theories of equality including disparate impact liability and affirmative action.
- Vanja Hamzić, SOAS Law Faculty
- Abstract: Temporal Refuges and Interruptions: Racial Capitalism and Cosmological and Gender Nonconformity in Eighteenth-Century Senegambia and Colonial Louisiana. This brief presentation will introduce a book I’m working on, provisionally titled Interruption: Rethinking Circum-Atlantic Gender Nonconformity of the Enslaved in Eighteenth-Century West Africa and Colonial Louisiana, as well as several related papers. The project is largely an archival and ethnographic investigation into the making of the colonial (primarily French, but also Spanish and British) racial capitalist gender binary, and the ways an immense—but little researched—West African cosmological, temporal, legal, political and gender/sexual plurality survived the violence of the Middle Passage and the Louisianan racial and gender-binary colonial regime in the eighteenth century.
- Ivana Isailovic, University of Amsterdam
- Abstract: I’d like to talk about an article that I’m currently working on and which examines the regulation of social reproduction in EU law, borrowing from materialist feminism and postmodern approaches. It focuses on how EU laws and policies produce inequalities in terms of gender, race, citizenship and class. It tries to show the differential impacts of EU law, using ‘three figures of caregivers’: the ‘balanced woman’ which is central to the EU legal and policy discourse- “the precarious EU migrant” who is economically marginalized as the result of the application of EU citizenship law—”the non-EU caregiver” whose residency depends on them performing caregiving for EU citizens, and who is otherwise pushed into precarious domestic and caregiving industries as a result of EU’s integration and economic policies (this part builds on Sara Farris’ work on femonationalism). These three figures of caregivers are essential, and yet are made precarious by law.
- Dipika Jain, Jindal Law School
- Abstract: Gender, Political Economy and Neoliberalism in Indian Healthcare: A Case Study of the Frontline Healthcare workers in India. In this paper, I use political economy theoretical frameworks to analyze research findings of an empirical study undertaken in three districts of Haryana, India to comprehend the challenges faced by the frontline community healthcare workers called the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers.
- Cyra Choudhury, Florida International University Law School – Chair