Economy and gender

With reliable regularity, media reports advise us that the pay women receive for their work is well below the amount paid to men. This helps us to get used to the situation. One look in the business pages of any newspaper – or at the media coverage of executive and supervisory boards – is enough to show us that business is even more male-dominated than politics, education or culture. Is the economy therefore a monosexual sector? Or is there such a thing as the other gender of the economy? We are thus led to wonder about the mechanisms of marginalization and the rules of the division of labor by sex. But this is only the beginning of the distinctions that can be made, for in late-capitalist Western society we will not necessarily discover the same patterns of gender division in the economy as in the post-socialist former Eastern Bloc. Different branches of the economy display different gender relationships, and sex itself is a commodity like no other. Work, success, income, profit, expansion etc. are at the same time categories resonant with elements of libido, which lends the gender dimension of the economy a further quality. Are power relationships mirrored in the structures of desire and/or can we subversively undermine the former when we begin to depart from the tacit bipolarity of the sexes? … >>