Pierrette Pape: Women need to organize to face neoliberal fragmentation

This year’s CADTM Summer University insisted on feminist struggles as a starting point to understand the deleterious impacts of politics of austerity measures that have been applied in Europe and elsewhere. In Europe, the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission), despite warnings from economists at the IMF, pressured by the United States forced austerity measures onto the population of Greece.

Representing the European Women’s Lobby, Pierrette Pape specifically addressed the pernicious ramifications between neoliberal capitalism and women’s rights. As Silvia Federici explains, women are the shock absorbers of economic globalization. Moreover, sexual and reproductive rights that have been won with so much difficulty are being attacked from various angles. Women, minorities, and generally low-income populations are being marginalized as bank bailouts with public funds become normalized.

Neoliberal strategies to rein in social advances and rights work hand in hand with conservative views that have traditionally hindered women’s emancipation. In the United States, for example, the situation of sexual and reproductive rights is dire with the constant attack on women’s rights especially with Planned Parenthood being currently pilloried on false claims. In Spain, after many failed attempts to curtail abortion rights, the recent “mordaza” (Gag) bill has effectively reduced access to abortion for minors requiring parental consent. Feminist movements have shown in Spain their ability to unite with large networks representing various aspects of resistance, which led to the election of activist women as mayors of Barcelona and Madrid, respectively.

Although women are on the forefront of the struggle against austerity, the neoliberal system lays traps to reduce the impact of resistance.

Let’s listen to Pierrette Pape:


(Photo Credit: RTBF.be)

About Brigitte Marti

Brigitte Marti is an organizer researcher who has worked on reproductive rights and women's health initiatives in France and in the European Union and on women prisoners' issues in the United States. She is a member of Women Included, a new transnational feminist collective, that is part of the Women 7, a coalition that advocates for the inclusion of women's rights in the G7.