In Search of Economic Alternatives for Gender and Social Justice: Voices from In
For many years the issue of ‘Feminist alternatives for economic and social justice’ has formed an integral part on the agenda of the WIDE network1. We share a common interest in developing feminist alternatives to the prevailing neoliberal development path, which promotes trade liberalisation as the main driver for economic growth. Rather than ensuring sustainable economic and social development, present trade policies prioritise the interests of global capital and profit-maximisation. In its current four year programme (2008-2011) WIDE identified ‘Feminist alternatives for economic and social justice’ as one of its four thematic priorities. The thematic area is supporting WIDE’s ongoing work around influencing the EU trade and development agendas from a perspective of gender and social justice.
In October 2007 the Heinrich Böll Foundation India and WIDE in close collaboration with Indian and EU partners started a project of networking, awareness raising and capacity building with a focus on the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and on social and gender justice. In the context of changing global power dynamics, the stalled multilateral WTO negotiation and the proliferation of bilateral free trade negotiations, WIDE identified the start of the EU-India-FTA negotiations as a timely entry point for deepening its gender and trade work. The EU-India FTA was taken as an example for raising awareness on the linkages between gender, trade and development, and advocating for gender and socially just trade relations. Based on shared concerns with partners in India the main objectives of the project were to contribute to shaping EU-India trade relations consistent with women’s rights, social and gender justice and environmental sustainability: We do not want to allow policy makers and governments on both sides to decide upon deals and policies which are decisive for the life and livelihoods of nearly 1,5 billion people in India and the EU without any transparency and democratic involvement of civil society.
Since then WIDE has stressed the major conceptual shifts in EU trade policies through numerous activities 2: WIDE highlighted the asymmetries between the so-called “equal partners” India and the EU in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), trade balance and implications of tariff reduction, and we raised concerns that the EU-imposedIn search of economic alternatives for gender and social justice: Voices from India
Edited by Christa Wichterich