50% of the 99%

By Laura Carlsen

, by CIP Americas Program

This isn’t a math quiz. To put the question in non-numerical terms: where are women in the global economic crisis?

The movement of the 99 percent that began in the United States made visible the human beings who suffer the brutal inequality and injustice of an economic system that, in crisis, requires them to sacrifice even more. The mainstream emphasis on deficits and big banks relegated the human impact of the crisis to the feature pages or, worse, the obituaries. Women, who in many ways receive the brunt of the crisis, remain even more invisible. Economists and politicians scrambling to save the financial system leave out women as a group in their equations, except to rely implicitly on their unpaid work and the bonus economies receive from gender discrimination.

Yet women, especially poor women, perform economic miracles every day to ensure family survival. Their contributions go unregistered, and they themselves usually have little concept of the social role of their work. Economics has been mystified to shut out citizen participation and gender coded to exclude women. Ironically, the message that ‘there is no alternative’ is being actively enforced during a crisis that clearly demonstrates that there has to be an alternative.

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