Feminism and the Economy

Areas where feminists agree, include the acknowledgment that women are economically subordinate to men due to factors like the gender pay gap. This pay disparity stems from women primarily shouldering reproductive duties, leading to them being pushed into lower-paying, part-time roles with limited chances for advancement. Additionally, women tend to be concentrated in professions considered feminine, resulting in lower wages. Furthermore, most top-level positions in companies are held by men. Feminists also concur on the importance of women attaining economic independence. 

Conversely, areas of contention arise regarding the significance of biological dissimilarities in contemporary industrial workplaces. Various feminist thinkers like Gilman, Wollstonecraft, and Friedan advocate for women's access to work and equal opportunities in the job market. Friedan specifically argues for governmental intervention to ensure women can compete with men on a level playing field professionally. Rowbotham identifies women's oppression in capitalist economies, where they are exploited as a cheap labor source in precarious, low-wage jobs and face exploitation in their homes through unpaid domestic work. The need to dismantle capitalism and patriarchy for economic and gender equality, both in society and within families, is highlighted. De Beauvoir emphasizes patriarchy as a critical concern, linking socialistic economic parity to broader social change. bell hooks delves into how capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy, alongside patriarchy, contribute to the oppression of women, with variations based on how gender intersects with race and class. bell hooks also argued that when Friedan called for women to have careers, she failed to ‘tell readers whether it was more fulfilling to be a maid, a babysitter, a factory worker, a clerk, or a prostitute than to be a leisure-class housewife’.