At the 2013 Left Forum in New York City, the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) sponsored a panel on wealth and women, with a focus on how women’s lives are changing for the worse under austerity and neo-liberal policies–and how these policies threaten to push the progress of women back to times when we were completely dependent on men. Organized by Peg Rapp, the panel was titled: “The Wealth Gap–Have We Really Come a Long Way?” On July 3, 2013, we proudly presented a radio version of this groundbreaking Left Forum Panel. Panelists included:
Veteran Feminist URPE Economist Peg Rapp on The Wealth Gap vs The Wage Gap, who spoke on the “Wealth Gap” between men and women, and why looking at wealth accumulation over a lifetime–taking into account women’s discontinuous paid-work due to family care–provides a better lens for understanding economic disparities between men and women, than the more simplistic, but commonly referenced “Wage Gap.”
Educator and Latina Rights Activist Diana Zavala will speak from her personal experience as a newly divorced single mother who turned to the U.S. “safety net” for help in supporting herself and her children while finishing her education–only to find herself facing the same dire conditions as her mother who had emigrated from Honduras a generation earlier. She also spoke of the attack on public schools as an attack on women, as well as the intersections of race, class and immigrant status as they affect the economics of women’s lives.
London-based Economist Susan Pashkoff discussed her research on Austerity as an Attack on Women: why and how austerity policies in Britain and Europe (with a U.S. version rapidly developing) are taking their biggest toll on women–who are both more dependent on “The Welfare State” and hold the majority of public sector jobs (with good benefits)–and how “benefit caps,” shrinking of “childcare tax credits” and other “austerity” measures, are threatening the very survival of women and their families.
Playright/Author Barbara Garson spoke on women as the “scroungers” of the world who hold their families together when times are the toughest–and the loss of power to men as family wealth increases.
The panel was moderated by Fran Luck, Executive Producer of Joy of Resistance and followed by a discussion of what can be done to reverse these effects and move forward.
On April 30, 2015, the day before May 1st–Mayday–the holiday of the working class, as the people of Greece fight a spirited battle against austerity policies imposed on them by the European Union, this program is especially relevant.