'Tapping’ Women for Post-Crisis Capitalism: Evidence from the 2012 World Development Report

Citation:

Calkin, Sydney. 2015. “‘Tapping’ Women for Post-Crisis Capitalism: Evidence from the 2012 World Development Report.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (4): 611–29.

Author: Sydney Calkin

Abstract:

Girls and women have become the public faces of development today, through the success of ‘Gender Equality as Smart Economics’ policy agendas and similar development narratives that mediate feminist claims through market logic. Women, these narratives assert, are more productive, responsible, and sustainable economic agents for future growth in the context of global financial crisis and therefore their empowerment is economically prudent. In this article, I provide a feminist reading of Foucault's critique of human capital to examine the discursive terrain of the ‘Smart Economics’ agenda and to understand the knowledge it produces about female bodies, subjectivities and agency. Through a discussion of the World Bank's 2012 World Development Report on gender equality, I argue that the current narratives of women's empowerment are premised on a series of gender essentialisms and their ‘activation’ through biopolitical interventions. The activation narrative of human capital appears, under feminist eyes, to reflect the notion that the supposedly intrinsic responsible and maternal nature of women can be harnessed to produce more profitable and sustainable development outcomes and, by extension, ‘rescue’ global capitalism. (Abstract from original)

Keywords: gender and development, women's empowerment, smart economics, World Bank, financial crisis

Topics: Development, International Financial Institutions

Year: 2015

© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.