Feminist, activist, Professor of Public Policy at AUT, and a principal founder of the discipline of feminist economics, Marilyn Waring is pretty much always an inspiration and this was no exception. Thirty-five years on, it’s still easy to see the strength that enabled her to stand her ground in the Muldoon government.
The Q and A interview is ten minutes cut short, and worth the watch. Here are some highlights.
Dann introduces Waring by way of her work on women’s unpaid labour and its importance in how we measure the economy. Waring talks about how in the 90s, thanks to NZ First, we had two nationwide time use surveys that were the best in the world. “They gave an amazing texture of data”. Key’s later government had no use for this. Robertson talks about wellbeing but Waring points out that we can’t have a database of wellbeing without those nationwide time use surveys.
Unpaid labour “is the single largest sector in any nation’s economy and the whole of the market economy only is able to function on top of that.”
Waring isn’t talking about ‘paying’ it, she’s talking about “redistributing resources according to that”. For example, primary health care starts in the home. Therefore put health services back on the road to travel to those primary caregivers when they need support. It costs more to interrupt the carers at home, even with them being unpaid, than it does to do home visits with ancillary care.
On hotshot du jour Jordan Peterson’s opinions on the gender pay gap (sex is only one of many factors),
… yeah, yeah, yeah, look, all my life as a feminist we’ve always had those boys roaring in the corner and I really just ignore them.
… I’m worried about the obstinacy of males, yet again, on yet another issue, that is patently about dignity and equality and getting rid of discriminatory behaviours, but whatever he’s saying to me will be pretty vacuous. Because they will come from any corner you like to try and stop women from getting their rightful gains. And they say exactly the same thing, it doesn’t matter which part of the world they come from and they think they’re being original.
On the values of gender quotas on boards, which Dann describes as cutthroat and he wants to know if women really want to do that,
Well you’re talking to me Corin. You’re talking to someone who did nine years with Muldoon.
Apparently, according to Dann, there is less of a desire to want to do it.
When you are impacted by the full male forum, it’s very difficult. But if there are two or three of you sitting there… in the moment for example that Anne Hercus joined the Public Expenditure Committee even as a Labour member we were able to transform some of the characteristics of the way in which that committee behaved.
Here Waring isn’t just saying that women are entitled to equity, she is saying that when we start to get bigger numbers of women in positions of power, how things get done can change.