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Robeyns, Ingrid. Will a Basic Income Do Justice to Women?
2001, Analyse & Kritik 23 (1):88-105
Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas

This article addresses the question whether a basic income will be a just social policy for women. The implementation of a basic income will have different effects for different groups of women, some of them clearly positive, some of them negative. The real issues that concern feminist critics of a basic income are the gender-related constraints on choices and the current gender division of labour, which are arguably both playing at the disadvantage of women. It is argued that those issues are not adequately addressed by a basic income proposal alone, and therefore basic income has to be part of a larger packet of social policy measures if it wants to maximise real freedom for all.

Comment: This paper explores questions as the intersection of feminism and the basic income literature, offering a take on one of the classic feminist critiques of basic income: namely, that the purported conditions of freedom that basic income is supposed to bring about are only really available to members of the population who do not belong to an oppressed or marginalised class. For those that do belong to such groups - in this case, women - the availability of such conditions of freedom will be highly dependent on existing gendered divisions of labour and restrictions on choice. As such, the author argues that proposals for basic income, if they are serious about ensuring real freedom for all, must take this into consideration. The author also challenges existing (at the time of writing) contradictions in the claims being made about the effect of basic income policy on women, as opposed to men. The paper would therefore be interesting to discuss in relation to feminist politics or a survey of the basic income literature, especially assigned in tandem with some of the foundational literature, such as Phillipe Van Parijs' work.

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