Making visible the hidden economy: the case for gender-impact analysis of economic policy.
Feminist Economics, 8(1),
This paper makes the case for analyzing the gender impact of economic policy, based on the existence of an unpaid as well as a paid economy and on structural differences between men's and women's positions across the two economies. Economic policy is targeted on the paid economy. However, unintended impacts on the unpaid care economy may limit how effective any policy can be. Gender-impact assessment will not only make the effects of economic policies on gender inequalities transparent; it will also enable policy makers to achieve all their goals more effectively, whether or not these goals relate explicitly to gender. The introduction in the UK of a new Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC), designed to make employment pay and help reduce child poverty, provides an example of how gender-impact assessment could have been used to improve an initial policy design. The paper also suggests criteria for evaluating economic policy, so that its full gender impact and its effects on both paid and caring economies can be assessed.
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