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Women in Philosophy – Eyja Brynjarsdóttir (University of Iceland): Unpaid and Owned by Others: On Women and Ownership of Money

July 23, 2019, 16:15–17:45
S 5 (GW II)

Even in modern, affluent societies, women perform far more unpaid work than men and their work is systematically undervalued. As inequality is exacerbated by harsh conditions, this is a clear indicator of severe gender inequality when it comes to both the evaluation of work and of other financial matters worldwide. Historically, women have been more likely to be traded as others’ property than to be owners of property. Various feminist thinkers have come to criticize this and to point out women’s lack of power as property in a patriarchal system, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Carole Pateman, and Simone de Beauvoir.

It is in this context that we need to consider women’s relationship with money. How could those treated as property own property? How could those not granted rights to enter into legal agreements handle currency, the value of which was contingent on legal agreements? From this point of view, I consider some issues pertaining to women and financial matters, including the devaluation of housework and its role in the economy, microfinance loans to women in third world countries, and economy-related risks associated with climate change that especially affect women. While those may seem like a mixed bag of issues, they all share the feature of reflecting the lack of acknowledgment of women as fully autonomous, respectworthy humans in our current social structure.

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