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Deploying Gender Studies in Political Economy

Deadline - 31 August 2018

Coordinators: Cécile Lefèvre, Cerlis, Université Paris Descartes and Ined, ; Thomas Lamarche, Ladyss, Université Paris Diderot

The Revue de la Régulation wishes to stimulate new thought about gender-related issues in political economy. Contributions can be made in the four areas defined below.

1 - Investigations of new fields of economics through the gender lens

The aim of this thematic issue is to encourage reflective articles on "gender and political economy" devoted to themes that are not usually studied from the angle of gender or by means of an analysis defined in terms of gender: gender and systems of production, gender and enterprise, gender and financial globalization, gender and money, gender and economic crisis, gender and the environment, gender and commonplace notions, etc. Comparative approaches (between countries, periods, currents of thought, etc.) are particularly welcome.

2 - Proposals for new perspectives on fields that have already been the subject of publications many times over:

  • Gender and development economics

  • Gender, conventions, indicators and measures in political economy

  • The history of economic thought as seen through the gender lens

  • Gender, work and family (on this theme, given the substantial volume of studies in applied economics on the inequality between men and women in terms of salaries, employment and the relations between family and work, articles of a more reflective and synthetic nature will be given preference over case studies).

3 - Contributions to developments in political economy and heterodox (notably régulationist) approaches inspired by the notion of gender

In view of the strategic positioning of the Régulation Review, contributions relating to the following questions will be particularly welcomed:

  • Institutional economics, the economics of conventions, régulation theory: what do they have to say about gender studies in economics?

  • Are gender studies heuristic (or not) with regard to the development of political economics?

  • Do gender-related issues constitute an interdisciplinary phenomenon which thus establishes a link between the social sciences (economics, history, geography, sociology and anthropology)?

4 - Last but not least, scrutiny of the examination of the gender positioning of economists and of the attention paid by them to gender studies

There are a number of courses and master degrees devoted to gender issues (more of them in sociology than in economics), but the overall picture remains that of a subject granted only marginal importance in academic syllabi for economists. Furthermore, recent investigations have underlined the difficulties encountered by women economists in establishing themselves in the discipline and in the academic environment.

The question of gender also impacts the choice of themes and the different ways in which techniques and methods are used by economists, depending on whether they are women or men.

Strategic positioning of the study

Although sociologists have paid considerable attention to gender-related problems, economists, at least in the French-speaking world, have largely ignored the area, or rather, they have approached it via highly specialized studies, essentially in the economics of labor and employment, devoted to the inequality in wages and working conditions between men and women, and in the economics of the family, where prime importance has been given to the balance between time spent at the workplace and time spent in the home.

In the English-speaking world, gender-related issues, that is to say social relations between the sexes, have received more attention from economists… mostly from women. The starting point was the critical stance adopted towards neo-classical theory. This gave rise, in the United States, to a current of thought, feminist economics, which was consolidated by the creation in 1992 of an association, the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE), following a colloquium of the American Association of Sociology in Washington in 1990, where one of the sessions was entitled “Can Feminism Find a Home in Economics?”.

Before the early 1990s a number of publications and declarations had already signaled the arrival in economics of gender-based approaches. In this light the economist Ester Boserup sought to demonstrate in her 1970 publication Woman's Role in Economic Development that "men and women experience macroeconomic crises, neo-liberal policy and the forces of globalization in different ways", adding that the difference is even more marked in developing countries, where public policy provides little help in reducing inequality. Marylin Waring's book If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics, published in 1988, claimed to be feminist in the militant sense and levelled a stream of criticism against national accounting systems, traditionally seen as standard measures of economic growth, and of their failure to include unpaid women's labor in economic production.

From the 1990s onward the main theme of economic and feminist research in the English-speaking world has been criticism of neo-classical theory in general, and in particular the publications of Gary Becker (1981, 1991) whose work A Treatise on the Family implied, in the name of the principle of comparative advantage, the existence of a specialization between men and women, and indeed deemed this to be a natural feature of society and of the family. Other representatives of this current include Edith Kuiper with her 1995 publication Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics and more recently, in 2010, Feminist Economics (Critical Concepts in Economics).

The second theme is that of the history of economic thought. A relevant example of this is Michèle Pujol's book Feminism and Anti-Feminism in Early Economic Thought (1992), which examines how classical British political economics considered the economic role of women and women's labour from Adam Smith up to Arthur Cecil Pigou, with particular attention to John Stuart Mill's 1869 book, The Subjection of Women.

One of the important publications of this period, and one which is sometimes considered to be the manifesto of feminist economics, is the compilation edited by Marianne Ferber and Julie Nelson published in 1993 and entitled Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics. It consists of about ten articles which adopt a critical stance with regard to the andro-centric bias of neo-classical economics and rational choice, and propose a reflection on what form gender studies in economics might take, paying special attention to the relations between socialism and feminism, and between institutionalist economics and feminism.

Although classical and neo-classical currents gave rise to gender-related analyses, the mainstream institutionalist approaches (notably in Germany and the USA) were relatively hesitant to adopt this dimension, even though they were, in certain cases, able to play a pioneering role on the theme of the place of women in the economy. In 2003, ten years after Beyond Economic Man, a new work edited by the same authors, Feminist Economics Today: Beyond Economic Man, offered a retrospective view of the previous decade and of the progress made in this domain, with several contributions from applied economics, in the field of education for example, and also care, enterprise and business and business ethics. The so-called intersectional approaches also emerged progressively, with publications that gave joint attention to discrimination, post-colonial studies and so-called 'racial' discrimination.

  • 1 Gender and Economics: Missed Opportunities

Alongside the rapid development in the United States of gender studies in economics, certain voices, notably those of women economists, were raised, questioning the lack of interest in gender-related economic research in France. An example in point was one of Rachel Silvera's articles in 2001 entitled "Genre et économie : des rendez-vous manqués"1 , an interrogation shared by Fatiha Talahite (2014) when she made a point of explaining "the resistance to gender in the science of economics". It is indeed true that although gender is not wholly absent from economic analysis, at least with regard to three areas, it nevertheless appears to remain in an essentially marginal position.

Concerning the analysis of the labor market, employment, salaries, the articulation between family life, domestic economy and professional life, a certain amount of work is available (by Rachel Silvera, Hélène Périvier, Françoise Milewski, Monique Meron, Dominique Meurs, Ariane Pailhé and Sophie Ponthieux) and there is also a federative platform called Mage (Marché du Travail et Genre)2. This was created by the sociologist Margaret Maruani 1995, initially as a CNRS3 research group, but it subsequently became a pluridisciplinary research network constituting a federative institutional base for research bearing on the gender-sensitive re-examination of the labor market. It publishes a journal entitled Travail, Genre et Sociétés4.

There is also an aftermath in France of the work of Marylin Waring, in the form of various pieces of research which reveal the extremely andro-centric character of a certain number of analytical tools, statistic category divisions and instruments of measurement. These range from the analysis of the notion of the value of domestic work (Ann Chadeau, Annie Fouquet et Claude Thélot, 1981, Marlyse Pouchol and Michèle Severs, 1983) to the research carried out in the 2010s on GDP (Florence Jany-Catrice and Dominique Méda, 2011) and on the way in which the individual is absorbed into the household in statistical analysis (Thomas Amossé and Gaël de Peretti, 2011).

  • 5 Women, Granaries and Capital
  • 6 The Sex of Globalisation

Finally, even though feminist Marxism has developed more fully in the United States, it has also given pride of place in France to the social relations between the sexes, which thus occupy a central position in its analysis, women being considered to suffer double domination on account of their simultaneous submission to the capitalist order and to patriarchal authority, to use Christine Delphy's formulation. Claude Meillassoux's well-known book Femmes, greniers et capitaux5 (1975), which combined economic anthropology and political economy, also drew a parallel between neo-colonial exploitation and the capitalist exploitation of women and subsequently of immigrants in southern countries. This work is echoed in several more recent works, notably certain chapters of the 2010 publication edited by J. Falquet et alii, Le sexe de la mondialisation6, a work displaying a clearly “intersectional” approach.

The discussion of the idea of a "missed opportunity" regarding the encounter between economics and gender leads to the consideration of several major questions on which papers will be particularly welcome.

  • Has the subject of "gender economics" really been (and can it be) broached in France? (to borrow a turn of phrase used in the title of a thematic issue of the journal Regards croisés sur l’économie in 2014)

  • Are heterodox approaches really as silent as they seem, and if so, why? And above all, what heuristic perspectives can be foreseen when gender is taken into account by heterodox approaches?

  • How can the study of the history of economic thought be pursued from a viewpoint that takes gender issues into account?

  • How can areas other than employment and the family be explored through the gender lens (within monetary economics, industrial economics and environmental economics, for example)?

The Régulation Review hopes that this call for contributions will interest both authors who are already specialists in the subject and new authors turning to it for the first time.


Cécile Lefèvre, Cerlis, Université Paris Descartes and Ined,

Thomas Lamarche, Ladyss, Université Paris Diderot


Those interested are invited to submit a summary (between 1 000 and 2 000 words) + main bibliographical references by 15 March 2018 to the following addresses:

The summaries retained by the editorial committee should give rise to articles written in English or French which should be no longer than 10 000 words/60 000 characters.

The articles must be submitted by 31 August 2018 at the latest.

Publication standards can be consulted on the website of the review.


Bibliographical references

Amossé, T., De Peretti G. (2011), « Hommes et femmes en ménage statistique : une valse à trois temps », Travail, genre et sociétés, vol. 26, no 2, 2011, p. 23-46.

Becker G. S., (1981, 1991 enlarged edition), A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Boserup E. (1970), Woman's Role in Economic Development, London and New York, Earthscan (French translation 2001: La Femme face au développement économique (with Marie-Catherine Marache), Paris, PUF).

Chadeau A., Fouquet A., Thélot C. (1981), « Peut-on mesurer le travail domestique ? », Économie et statistique, no 136, p. 29-42.

Delphy C. (1998), L'ennemi principal (tome I) : économie politique du patriarcat, Paris, Syllepse.

Falquet J, Hirata, H., Kergoat D., Labari B., Lefeuvre N., Sow F. (2010), Le sexe de la mondialisation. Genre, classe, race et nouvelle division du travail. Paris, Les Presses de Sciences Po. 278 p.

Ferber M., Nelson J., 1993, Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics, Chicago, The Chicago University Press, 186 p.

Ferber, M., Nelson, J. A (2003), Feminist Economics Today: Beyond Economic Man, Chicago, The Chicago University Press, 218 p.

Jany-Catrice F., Méda D., 2011, « Femmes et richesse : au-delà du Pib », Travail, genre et sociétés, no 26, p. 147-171.

Kuiper, E., Sap, J., Feiner, S., Ott, N., Tzannatos, Z., 1995, Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics, London New York, Routledge.

Kuiper, E., Barker, D. K, 2010, Feminist Economics (Critical Concepts in Economics), Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon New York, Routledge.

Maruani M., Meron M., Un siècle de travail des femmes en France : 1901-2011, Paris, La Découverte, 2012, 229 p.

Meillassoux C. (1975), Femmes, greniers et capitaux, Paris, Maspero.

Meurs D., Pailhé A., Ponthieux S., (2014), « Quels effets des enfants sur les rémunérations et les carrières des mères », numéro thématique de Regards croisés sur l'économie : « Peut-on faire l’économie du genre ? », no 15, p. 197-210.

Milewski F., Périvier H. (2010), dir de numéro thématique, « Les discriminations entre les hommes et les femmes », La Revue de l’OFCE, no 114, July.

Périvier H. (2014), « Men and Women during the economic crisis », thematic issue of the Revue de l’OFCE European labour markets in times of crisis. A gender perspective, no 133, April.

Ponthieux S. « L’information statistique sexuée dans la statistique publique : état des lieux et pistes de réflexion ». Rapport pour la Ministre des Droits des Femmes. INSEE, October 2013.

Pouchol M., Severs M., 1983, Travail domestique et pouvoir masculin, Paris, Éditions du Cerf.

Pujol, M.A., 1992, Feminism and Anti-Feminism in Early Economic Thought. Aldershot, Hants, England Brookfield, Vermont, USA, Edward Elgar.

Silvera R. (2001), « Genre et économie, des rendez-vous manqués », Travail, genre et sociétés, no 6, p. 123-143.

Talahite F. (2014), « Genre et théorie économique », thematic issue of Regards croisés sur l'économie : « Peut-on faire l’économie du genre ? », 15 (2), p. 13-28.

Waring M. (1988), If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics, San Francisco, Harper & Row.

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1 Gender and Economics: Missed Opportunities

2 Mage: “Labor Market and Gender”

3 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

4 Journal : « Work, Gender and Societies”

5 Women, Granaries and Capital

6 The Sex of Globalisation

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