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The workshop

A key aspect of this project is to bring together activists, academics and policy-makers to reflect on how a feminist recovery plan that values social reproduction work might look like. Our workshop in June will be a first step in this direction, laying the ground for a larger project. It will see feminist experts from around the world who have been at the forefront of discussions on the inequalities exposed and exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. We will connectively reflect on what we can learn from grassroots activism and reimagine a recovery plan for Covid-19 and beyond.

The workshop will take place on Friday 18 June on Zoom from 11am BST. It will start with an introduction by Serena Natile and some insights on a pre-recorded conversation (made available on the website) with Khara Jabola-Carolus, Executive Director of the Hawai’i State Commission on the Status of Women who have developed one of the first and most discussed feminist economic recovery plans for Covid-19 (Building Bridges, Not Walking on Backs: A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Covid-19). This will be followed by two live sessions. In the first session we will be able to learn from and converse with Costanza Pauchulo from the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific); Anita Gurumurthy from IT for Change, Bengaluru, India; Beatrice Karore a community mobiliser and founder of Wanawake Mashinani Initiative, Mathare, Kenya. In the second session we will listen and engage with Felogene Anumo from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, (AWID); Veronica Gago and Lucí Cavallero (intervention translated by Liz Mason-Deese) authors of A Feminist Reading of Debt (Pluto Press, 2021) Ni Una Menos Argentina; Rocío Rosero Garcés and Silvana Tapia Tapia from the Coaliciòn Nacional de Mujeres del Ecuador; and Enrica Rigo, Teresa Maisano and Michela Pizzicanelle who will discuss the Life Beyond The Pandemic recovery plan developed by Non Una di Meno Roma, Italy. .

Clips from the interventions are available below and on YouTube. We will shortly publish a policy brief based on the conversations. We encourage everyone to share insights and reflections.


Workshop clips: contributions and conversations

Introduction, Serena Natile, Warwick Law School

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

In this introduction to the workshop the project coordinator, Serena Natile, talks about the inspiration and motivation for the project:

(1) mapping and bringing together the various feminist recovery plans and policies developed by feminist organisations and collectives to address the Covid-19 crisis and the related social, economic, healthcare and ecological crises, and to respond to the ‘business as usual’ ‘recovery’ measures adopted by governments and international organisations. The purpose is not to rebuild the pre-pandemic economic system governed by patterns of inequality and marginalisation, but to build a reparative economy that values the work we know is essential to sustaining us and that fairly redistributes economic benefits;

(2) rethinking policy-making by learning from the expertise of grassroots feminist activists and by placing social reproduction work, in all its different material and immaterial forms, at the centre of economic recovery.

Serena also summarises the conversation with Khara Jabola-Carolus on the Hawai’i Feminist Economic Recovery Plan and the three aspects of (1) inspiration from the fights of more marginalised groups, (2) engagement with grassroots collectives and giving voice to the lived experience of more marginalised communities, (3) implementation of measures part of a deep structural transition from an exploitative economic system and a complete rethinking of the way we evaluate the economic ‘success’ of a recovery plan.


Conversation with Khara Jabola-Carolus, Hawai'i Commission on the Status of Women

(Pre-recorded)

In this first video-contribution the project coordinator, Serena Natile, asks some questions to Khara Jabola-Carolus, Executive Director of the Hawai'i Commission on the Status of Women, who in collaboration with community organisations have developed the first feminist recovery plan for Covid-19, Building Bridges, Not Walking on Backs: A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for COVID-19. The conversation is organised around the origins, formulation and implementation of the Plan:

(1) the Feminist Plan was drafted in response to the government mainstream economic plan issued by Hawaiian economists which didn’t even mention ‘women’. The Feminist Recovery Plan really aimed to give a voice and provide some form of reparation for all the women and families who lived through major catastrophes in Hawai’i and experience intersecting exploitations and marginalisation;

(2) the Plan was formulated via a community-based open consultative process with the purpose to place women and marginalised groups’ lived experience at the centre of the Plan. Grassroots organisations such as AF3IRM, a strong grassroots feminist movement in Hawaii, played an essential role in laying down some of the groundwork in the early stages of the recovery plan;

(3) the Plan advocates for the end of an exploitative political economy, it’s a long-term project that aims to building the base for socio-economic justice. It advocates to move from tourism and military-based economic growth to an economy that better values the work that is essential to sustaining us. Measures include special funds for high-risk groups and carers, healthcare programmes, housing, shelter and public services, digital and ICT access, reparative measures for native Hawaiians, particularly women. The Plan includes measures to support funding and reform of serve the bases for structural change.

The purpose of the Commission is to push forward as many pieces of the Feminist Plan as possible and some of the measures adopted so far include expanding access to safe abortion and reproductive justice, increasing funding for childcare and eldercare towards a system which is truly universal, free and pubic.

The plan has inspired a number of policy initiatives around the world and the insights provided will help us to reflect on how to replicate elements of the Hawaiian Plan in other countries and at the transnational level, as well as envisage new forms of feminist engagement with, within, and beyond the state. In Khara’s words “women are hungry for a bold, transformative departure from the current exploitative political economy”, so it is time to meet the urgency of these demands.


Rachel Powell, Women’s Policy Group Northern Ireland, WRDA

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

In this video Rachel Powell, Chair of the Women’s Policy Group Northern Ireland, discusses the NI Feminist Recovery Plan, inspired by the Hawai’i Feminist Economic Recovery Plan and grounded in political and economic dynamics in NI. Similarly to the Hawai’i State Commission on the Status of Women, the NI Women’s Policy Group that developed the Plan involved women’s and LGBTIQ+ organisations and networks, trade unions, feminist campaigners and grassroots groups.

Rachel starts her intervention by highlighting the importance of the political context and discusses how although the women’s sector in NI is extremely close-knit, political instability gives rise to the question of who will actually introduce changes in the country. The gendered inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis need to be contextualised within the history of NI and the gender-neutral approach adopted since the post-conflict period has only exacerbated the gendered impact of the pandemic. The NI Feminist Recovery Plan recognises this gendered impact (as grounded in long-term gender inequalities) and provides recommendations based on six pillars: (1) economic justice (employment, unpaid work, childcare, poverty and austerity, housing, rural women, debt, green economy); (2) health (mental health, abortion and reproductive justice, gendered impact of austerity on health, health inequality on grounds of gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability, migration status); (3) social justice (racial justice, politics, public life, peacebuilding and decision-making, digital divide), (4) culture (women and girls in the media, rape culture, violence against women, hate crime and online abuse), (5) Brexit and Bill of Rights for NI, and (6) international case studies to recognise the importance of the broader context.

The NI Feminist Recovery Plan will be relaunched on 28 July with the purpose to provide updated data, evidence and recommendations to give voice directly to the women affected by the pandemic.


Constanza Pauchulo, IWRAW Asia Pacific

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

Constanza Pauchulo, Programme Officer at IWRAW Asia Pacific currently coordinating their programme on Transforming Economics and Development through a Feminist Approach, provides an analysis of the UN Human Rights system and multilateralism and its links to the impact of Covid-19 on women, especially those subject to intersecting forms of disadvantage.

(1) Constanza begins with a short description of IWRAW Asia Pacific and the collaborative nature of their work aimed at engaging with feminist movements, activists, academics, and others who share a common political vision of a just world. IWRAW AP is in solidarity with women whose identities and communities are criminalised, marginalised and disenfranchised by the State and other powerful actors, and sometimes within the women’s rights movement itself, including LBTQI+ women and non-binary people, as well as women who are marginalised due to the nature or conditions of their work, such as migrant workers, sex workers, domestic workers and agricultural workers.

In her analysis of feminist recoveries, Constanza discusses the idea of ‘recovery’ from Covid-19 and beyond or (as many in the climate justice and Indigenous rights movements call for):

  • A ‘transition’ to economic, social and political models that recognise, redress, and repair the root causes of global inequalities - including capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy - and how these systems work to reinforce and replicate each other;
  • A call for fully and sustainably financed, people-centred, and democratic multilateral systems where Global South countries and civil society have an equal seat at the decision-making table; and where independent accountability mechanisms, such as the treaty bodies, have the resources necessary to hold governments and other actors, including corporations and international financial institutions, to account for their human rights obligations. And ensuring a rebalancing of these international mechanisms with supporting national, public mechanisms to resist corporate and elite capture.

(2) In the second part of her contribution, Constanza examines the potential of the UN Human Rights system. She points out the work of the Centre for Economic and Social Rights COVID-19 Recovering Rights Series, which provides short briefs on different international human rights standards and how they apply to macro-level Covid-19 recovery demands; the CEDAW standards of non-discrimination and substantive equality and the government obligation to raise, allocate, and spend resources for Covid-19 relief and recovery in a manner directed towards substantive equality. The standards of non-discrimination and substantive equality require to look at the distributive outcomes and results of Covid-19 recovery plans:

  • That these measures do not result in direct or indirect discrimination in practice, particularly looking at the lived experience of historically marginalised or excluded groups;
  • That they redress the historical and structural socioeconomic disadvantages that disproportionately affects women and indigenous people;
  • That they contribute to the long-term transformation of the institutions and structures that reinforce and reproduce unequal power relations, at local, national, and global levels.

Examples:

(1) Campaign of Campaigns: organised by the Civil Society Group on Financing for Development and the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, this campaign has eight core demands, including the creation of a new global economic architecture, a debt cancellation and sovereign debt workout mechanism at the UN, a UN Tax Convention for redistributive justice, a UN global technology assessment mechanism, and other demands relating to global finance, development and socioeconomic rights.

(2) Framing Feminist Taxation recently released by the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Gender & Development Network, Akina Mama wa Afrika, Womankind Worldwide, and NAWI: Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective, and includes guidance and recommendations for policy-making and advocacy in relation to the links between tax justice and intersectional gender equality.

(3) ESCR-Net whose numerous members are involved in a range of COVID-19 recovery campaigns, including around the TRIPS Waiver at the WTO and transforming the international development and financial architecture. ESCR-Net Global Call to Action has been endorsed by 135 members and 40 allies from over 60 countries and makes collective demands for a just recovery and new normal in the face of COVID19 and related systemic crises.


Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change, Bengaluru, India

Anita Gurumurthy, Executive Director of IT for Change, was not able to join us at the workshop, but the contribution of IT for Change together with Just Net Coalition is summarised in this series A Digital New Deal: Visions of Justice in a Post-Covid World and the collaboration of IT for Change with DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) is available here Feminist Digital Justice.


Beatrice Karore, Wanawake Mashinani Initiative, Mathare, Kenya

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

Beatrice Karore, founder of Wanawake Mashinani, provides a community-based approach to Covid-19 recovery. Beatrice begins her contribution by explaining the reasons why she set up this grassroots organisation and the need for it in areas where human rights, violations, dispossession, police brutality and gender-based violence are normalised. The three main areas affected by Covid-19 highlighted by Beatrice are:

(1) Unemployment: most of women’s livelihoods were cut off during the pandemic. Informal workers and micro-entrepreneurs, predominantly women, were forced to stay at home for health and security reasons, without any form of income support, and this was very difficult for women in more precarious situation and with care responsibilities such as single mothers with small children. Funding, including aid, is often maldistributed and should be allocated to support the work of community organisers, provide shelters and essentials for victims of human rights violations, often women.

(2) Lack of basic sanitation: the health crisis (linked to other systemic crises that affect mainly those at the lower end of the wealth distribution) and the breakdown of healthcare systems has been exacerbated by the lack of sanitary facilities in many homes (many women could not access toilets outside of their homes in the evenings and night due to curfew).

(3) Domestic violence: during the lockdown there has been an increase in domestic violence towards women, with serious effects on their physical and mental health, and on the community more broadly. Lack of safe houses supported by the government gives no alternative to women survivors of domestic violence. Community-based human rights defenders are currently advocating for domestic violence protection laws and safe accommodations funded and protected by governments; and economic support measures and labour laws that would protect women’s independence and well-being in the post-lockdown period.


Felogene Anumo, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

Felogene Anumo is the lead of the Building Feminist Economies for the Association of Women’s Rights and Development (AWID) and discusses the context and importance of AWID’s Global Feminist Bailout Manifesto, a document which summarises demands from feminist and social movements for a post-Covid recovery.

(1) Context: Felogene starts by discussing how Covid-19 has placed the systemic failures of the mainstream economic system and policies - often violent, exploitative, and unsustainable - into sharp focus, and has highlighted its interconnection with other crises such as the climate crisis, growing authoritarianism and nationalist anti-rights rhetoric. She points out that grassroots feminist solidarity is driving some of the most imaginative and needed responses to the crisis: from mutual aid, care systems and solidarity networks providing food, health, education and support in the communities and among the most marginalised groups, like migrant sex worker in Asia or urban poor in Kenya.

(2) Feminist Bailout Manifesto: this globally relevant document is rooted in people’s collective power to demand and shape structural change towards transforming our economies and societies. Co-created with feminist organisers from different movements, it focuses on various demands such as bodily autonomy, economic justice, digital justice, food sovereignty, climate justice, etc. The key 5 principles are:

  1. Investing in social infrastructure and systems of care for people and the environment as they are the foundations of thriving economies.
  2. Recognising the plurality of economic models, including community economies, informal economies, and solidarity economies.
  3. Redefining wealth as a community asset that is created through our collective unpaid and paid labour.
  4. Eliminating structural discrimination.
  5. Working towards the transformation and restructuring of the global economy.

A feminist bailout is only the first step towards a global feminist economy. The pandemic can provide collective motivation for change, but this change needs feminist redistributive policies.

(3) Felogene concludes by pointing out that the rethinking and rebuilding of a broken global macroeconomic governance architecture requires collective power in action, in the form of collaboration between local grassroots and global movements and cross-regional connections.


Enrica Rigo, Teresa Maisano, Michela Pizzicanelle, Non Una di Meno

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

In their joint contribution Enrica Rigo, Teresa Maisano and Michela Pizzicanelle of Non Una di Meno Roma discuss the impact of the pandemic on the already precarious protection of gender rights in Italy. In April 2020 Non Una di Meno published a collectively-authored recovery plan titled ‘La Vita Oltre La Pandemia’ translated in English ‘Life Beyond the Pandemic

  1. Context: the intervention starts from the analysis of Italy’s xenophobic political environment and its impact on refugee and migrant rights before and during the pandemic, to an overview of the Italian patriarchal society which romanticises sexism and where the gendered earning divide is exacerbated by the over-reliance on unpaid care and domestic work. The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated and exposed many of these contradictions in the Italian society showing how the burden of generational social reproduction is on the shoulders of women and many of these women, such as migrant women workers, were left without income and support during the pandemic.
  2. (2) The recovery plan reflects the growing alliances of intersectional feminist movements in Italy fighting against gender-based violence, racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, transphobia, imperialism and in support of women’s rights, LGBTIQ+ rights, migrants’ rights, workers’ rights and the environment. The recovery plan was opposed by various political forces and the various Non Una Di Meno collectives in different Italian cities have strongly advocated for it.
  3. The measures suggested for the recovery plan are focused on (1) the necessity to radically rethink public welfare institutions outside the family model and the over-reliance on women’s unpaid work; (2) to rethink the connections between social reproduction, the health system, the environment, but also exploitation and freedom of movement; (3) a critical reflection on the risks of current recovery arrangements at the national and EU level that will result in austerity and new forms of extraction of value.
  4. The three pillars of the national recovery plan concern (1) digitalisation and its exclusionary implications; (2) ecological transition and (3) social inclusion by paying particular attention to more precarious workers.
  5. The measures proposed by Non Una di Meno aim at a radical redistribution of wealth and in particular at (1) a European minimum wage common to all European states that will prevent more vulnerable workers from becoming a tool in the hands of companies and employers. This would serve the purpose to combat low wages, and wage disparities between women and men, citizens and migrants; (2) an unconditional permit of stay for migrants; (3) an income of self-determination, universal and unconditional, not connected to work, citizenship and conditions of residence, which must guarantee economic autonomy, an instrument to escape from gender violence, and from exploitation and violence.

Lucí Cavallero and Veronica Gago (translated by Liz Mason-Deese), Ni Una Menos, Argentina

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

Lucí Cavallero and Veronica Gago provide an overview of the work carried out by Ni Una Menos during the pandemic, including the main struggles that the movement is fighting and the post-pandemic agenda that they are advocating for.

  1. The intervention starts from illustrating some key slogans posted by the Ni Una Menos collective across public spaces to highlight the importance of community unpaid work across gender diversities and the need to stop the economic violence of corporations: Lay de Cupo Laboral Travesti Trans Ya!; Trabajadorxs Somos Todxs; Basta de Violencia Económica de las Corporaciones.
  2. The contribution considers the contradictions of the idea of ‘home’ exposed during the pandemic as also a place of sexual and economic violence and the need to end different forms of violence and adopt redistributive measures.
  3. A first set of suggestions for a post-pandemic aims to end the extraction of rents and the consequent creation of circles of debts– rent extraction should be condemned as illegitimate. The pandemic exposed the housing crisis, leading to calls for rent control, access to social housing, access to land for family farming which have been shown to be effective alternatives during the pandemic.
  4. Another important suggestion for a post-pandemic agenda is the reorganisation of work: there is a big need for valorisation and remuneration of community work but also of essential workers, platform workers and other workers with precarious status and recognise frontline workers such as nurses, who are often don’t recognised as professional workers.
  5. The contribution also provides an overview of the concept of financial colonisation and the financialisation of social reproduction and examines how increased social reproduction work during the pandemic is exacerbating class asymmetries and how the household is becoming a laboratory for capital.
  6. The contribution also highlighted the links between macroeconomic policies imposed by International Financial Institutions and household struggles. Current financial inclusion measures are being implemented without addressing the great expansion of debt at the household level, measures such as debt cancellation and suspension of eviction (opposed by private landlords), as well as social welfare support are necessary. For example, the government in Argentina proposed and implemented a family emergency income to help households to cope with the Covid-19 crisis but this was suspended as a requirement of IMF to reopen the renegotiation of the debt of the country (historically imposed by IMF). This subsidy also unveiled all forms of precarity that appeared with the pandemic: the emergency income ended up being used by households to pay off previous debts.
  7. It is important to think about the diagnostic of the problems and how to put recovery plans into action. A key question put forward is what does it mean the re-appropriation of resources by the feminist movement? This involves two aspects (1) how to stop the extraction of rent and (2) how do we re-appropriate resources and redistribute them.

Silvana Tapia Tapia and Walleska Pareja Díaz, Coaliciòn Nacional de Mujeres del Ecuador

Feminist Recovery Plans workshop, 18 June 2021

Walleska Pareja Díaz and Silvana Tapia Tapia, members of the Coalición Nacional de Mujeres del Ecuador, focus on the collective efforts made by the Coalition towards the adoption of the Shadow Report to the CEDAW Committee supported by various feminist civil society groups. The Coalition is made up of 24 organisations from different areas of Ecuador, which, through research and training, seek to influence the politics of the Ecuadorian State. The report, published in September 2020, provides important insights to reflect on a recovery plan that draws upon years of feminist research and advocacy in Ecuador.

(1) The contribution highlights the challenges faced to develop policies for gender justice, including lack of reliable data by the government and increasing privatisation of social services, and the collective contribution made by the Coalition towards this aim: this document in English outlines some key ideas for a feminist recovery plan, with the backdrop of the Ecuadorian reality. Key problems and suggested measures to contribute to address them are:

  • Problem: poverty and job insecurity and the need; proposal: universal basic income (a redistributive social policy that seeks to guarantee a minimum level of income for all citizens, thus reducing social inequalities).
  • Problem: access to effective protection from gender-based violence; proposal: a new fiscal pact that aims at establishing and financing multidisciplinary networks of social protection and financial assistance to ensure women’s opportunities to overcome gender-based violence.
  • Problem: increase of reproductive and care workload and higher risk of poverty; proposal: providing economic, social and legal recognition and compensation for unpaid reproductive work through the design and implementation of a national care system.
  • Problem: limited access to sexual and reproductive health; proposal: the government has the obligation to incorporate and guarantee fiscal resources for the adoption of effective mechanisms to protect and guarantee the right to sexual and reproductive health.
  • Problem: climate crisis; proposal: ensuring that women's social movements and indigenous communities are part of the construction of recovery plans and that supports measures to protect the environment.

(2) Highlighting the nexus between violence – precariousness – poverty – climate crisis: increased violence against women together with highly reduced access to sexual and reproductive health result in high numbers of premature pregnancies in Ecuador. Violence and poverty are two interlinked factors, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The pandemic resulted in the further reduction of already limited public resources for sexual and reproductive health and support for gender-based violence survivors. The pandemic also made impossible for women to work in the informal sector, which is the main sources of income for low-income families, and the lack of support for women will affect them generationally, unless key changes are made. The pandemic also exposed the consequences of environmental exploitation and its impact on indigenous communities, marginal neighbourhoods and rural areas.