“Debate: Should Feminists Endorse Basic Income?”

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Basic Income Studies, an international journal of basic income research, Vol. 3, Issue 3, (2008)
Debate: Should Feminists Endorse Basic Income?
Guest editor: Ingrid Robeyns, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Research Notes
“Introduction: Revisiting the Feminism and Basic Income Debate”
Ingrid Robeyns, Erasmus University Rotterdam
“Basic Income and the Gendered Division of Labour”
Julieta Elgarte, Universidad Nacional de La Plata
“Basic Income Grants or the Welfare State: Which Better Promotes Gender Equality?”
Barbara Bergmann, American University – Washington, D.C.
“All Things Considered, Should Feminists Embrace Basic Income?”
John Baker, University College Dublin
“Institutionalizing the Universal Caretaker Through a Basic Income?”
Almaz Zelleke, The New School
“Basic Income, Gender Justice and the Costs of Gender-symmetrical Lifestyles”
Anca Gheaus, University of Oxford
“Can a Basic Income Lead to a More Gender Equal Society?”
Jacqueline O’Reilly, University of Brighton

Book Reviews
Review of”Amilcar Moreira, The Activation Dilemma: Reconciling the Fairness and Effectiveness of Minimum Income Schemes in Europe”by Mikael Dubois, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Review of”Erik Christensen, The Heretical Political Discourse: A Discourse Analysis of the Danish Debate on asic Income”by Roland Paulsen, University of Uppsala

Available here, via Crooked Timber, where Ingrid Robeyns writes:

We’ve had some discussions on the desirability of a basic income from a feminist perspective here before (here and here). So I thought I would mention that about a month ago a special issue of Basic Income Studies was published which addresses precisely the question whether, all things considered, feminists should endorse a basic income. All authors answered this question with (relatively) affluent societies in mind; so the question still need to be answered for developing countries.

I guest-edited this issue and, as I wrote in the introduction (which also summarises the papers), apart from Barbara Bergmann’s contribution, I genuinely did not know what the other contributors (John Baker, Anca Gheaus, Jacqueline O’Reilly and Julieta Elgarte) would argue. So although these authors are all either feminists or generally supportive of feminist views, I was truly surprised to find out that they strongly disagreed on the desirability of a basic income for feminists. On the one hand this is due to the different kinds of feminism which they endorse. Bergmann is a ‘Total Androgyny, Male Style’- type of feminist, whereas Baker and Zelleke, for example, are much more concerned about the short-term interests of carers and those who do not want to or cannot take on large paid jobs, which are often mothers and female carers. Yet the other source of disagreement is the predicted effects of a basic income on the gendered division of labour. Gheaus thinks it will become more unequal (a view I share based on an empirical literature survey of similar policy instruments or financial changes, which I did as a graduate student). Elgarte thinks we need to make policy space for an ‘avantgarde’ who is practicing a more egalitarian gender division of labour while at the same time protecting those who are living in more gendertraditional households, whereas Zelleke doesn’t think the gender division of labour will worsen if a basic income would be implemented.

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