Creating a liveable, equitable world

Apr 27, 2024
Group of Women Socialise Teamwork Happiness Concept

A call to women to put social needs, not just economic needs, back on the political agenda.

If we want to fix that most of the world is in politically divisive macho mode, feminist women need to create new and recreate old priorities to create more equitable, survivable worlds. The macho basis of male economic rule has run into blind alleys that create violence and distrust, as well as threats to the environment. The last four decades has seen shifts in policy to material and self-interested goals and methods. The emphasis on valuing financially only what is traded, is seriously damaging all our futures. So, it is time for feminist changes that revolutionise the up valuing of the so far hidden contributions made in the communities, homes, and often unpaid collective efforts to create liveable societies.

Neoliberal economics dominates the power bases that run most of the world’s decision making, a discipline and value system that dismisses most of the social issues that are the basis of comfortable, reasonable lives. Whether the origins are ‘left’ concerns about the fair distribution of material resources or ‘right’ demands that competition is necessary to create wealth for the powerful, not the useful and creative workers, we need change. The conservative masculinised desires for material wellbeing exclude most of the social, emotional, creative forms of relationships that form the basis of good societies: comforts, cultures, trust, and emotional needs. Human societies flourish when they are deeply interdependent and fair. The present dominate paradigms ignore this basic factor.

Responsible forms of citizenship require valuing connections, fairness feelings and concepts that are collective and responsible for wellbeing. The present wars and clashes between nations in all sectors and continents leave most of us frightened of more wars and destruction of food sources, and lack of attention to trust and wellbeing. The decades post WW2 were attempting to create welfare states to avoid the moves from insecurity to fascism that initiated the above war. The loss of many social democratic models post the seventies saw Thatcher denying the existence of societies! The growth of antipathy to government spending, have created antipathies in many countries to the necessity of higher taxation and has undermined trust in democracies and returns us to poverty and conflict.

At the same time the progress feminists, and other outsider groups of disadvantaged, found our efforts to create fairer, more inclusive societies increasingly difficult. Our efforts to share power and amend sexist outsider and racist inequities were met with resistance. My ABC 1995 six Boyer Lectures on ‘A Truly Civil Society’ tried to signal the losses we needed to retain and reforms required to avoid losing what we had gained, and what still needed fixing. They were popular but not with the many powerful who benefitted from market-based monetised manag

ement! Now nearly 30 years later the risks of the future are ever more evident!

So again, I want to suggest we try again! Feminism has not been very effective, even if we have more good women in more senior positions and some reforms we needed. However, the loss of many of our social goals of recognition of the value of the jobs we mainly undertake, both paid and unpaid, and the need to recognise their real value, continue.

I have always wondered why the fall of democracy in Germany and the rise of Nazism that occurred in the 1930s was so easy. Are we repeating these possibilities as more dictators rise around the now world? The macho echoes are here again, so we need to start movements that opposes the current emphases on undermining democratically run nation states!

As a long term feminist, I am calling on those that believe fairness means including the social aspects of governance. My last article had a scare of responses to a similar call, but my efforts since have indicated too many organisations and groups trying to fix lesser problems but avoid the big picture debates and changes we need. Any ideas for big social reforms that recognise unpaid work as crucial and the social needs for survival?

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