Gender & Policy Forum Debates “Time Banks” as a Way to Resolve the Inequalities of Development
The Spring 2022 Gender and Policy Forum kicked off on Friday, February 11, with its first session titled “Women and Development: Empowering Individuals, Building Communities.” The Forum is a working group of the Latin American Interdisciplinary Gender Network (LAIGN), which is a community of 180 scholars and activists from across the world. Friday’s session was in Spanish with live English interpretation.
The session began with an introduction by Claudia Valeggia, current Chair of CLAIS and Professor of Anthropology at Yale. Valeggia outlined the three main goals of the Gender and Policy Forum: fostering an exchange of ideas about gender between researchers and policymakers; creating a professional network of people dedicated to gender justice; and promoting leadership strategies for feminist professionals in research and policy.
Professor Valeggia then introduced Dr. Amneris Chaparro Martinez, the Head of Academic Affairs of CIEG-UNAM, as the session’s moderator. Dr. Chaparro started her remarks by thanking the team who made the Gender and Policy Forum possible, including LAIGN’s executive committee, the interpreters, and CLAIS program directors Asia Neupane and Josh Mentanko. Chaparro went on to discuss her understanding of gender and public policy as concepts that have implications not just for politicians but for the everyday lives of women and gender minorities across Latin America. Finally, Dr. Chaparro introduced the session’s speakers and addressed the absence of Yolanda Kakabadse, who was unable to participate due to unexpected power outages.
Following these opening remarks, Dr. Luz Galindo and Dr. Yazmín Pérez Haro presented their research, “Tiempo, género y desigualdades.” Dr. Pérez Haro explained that their focus on gendered inequalities of time came from time’s role as an indicator of wellbeing and a “tacit protagonist of our lives.” Women’s “pobreza de tiempo,” she says, is essentially an expropriation of women’s time that results from unequal burdens of domestic labor and male-centered urban planning.
Dr. Galindo then introduced “time banks” as a potential solution to gendered inequalities of time. These time banks, which have been implemented in countries like Australia, Italy, and the UK, are a form of labor exchange that places greater value on women’s care work and domestic labor than does our current capitalist system. Although time banks are not an end-all-be-all solution to gender inequality, Galindo and Pérez Haro emphasize that they could be a steppingstone to national systems of care and equitable urban infrastructure.
Next, Marta Clara Ferreyra Beltrán, Director-General of Mexico’s National Institute for Women, responded to the presentation with some of her own reflections. Ferreyra reiterated the points that Galindo and Pérez Haro made about the relationships between urban infrastructure and gendered inequalities of time. Most cities, she explained, are designed for an “ideal” rider who is young, healthy, male, and childless. A more just infrastructure would be informed by intersectional public policy and attentive to the varying ways that the time and labor of marginalized groups are exploited in capitalist cities.
Once all of the speakers had presented, Chaparro invited audience members to participate in a live Q&A session with the panelists. Audience members raised questions about the logistics of time banks, green energy, and inequities in care work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaparro concluded the session by reiterating her gratitude to the panelists and the LAIGN team and her enthusiasm for future LAIGN events. Over 200 unique guests attended the webinar from across the world.
If you are interested in attending the Gender and Policy Forum, you can click here to register and read about the topics of the next sessions. For more information about LAIGN, click here or check out LAIGN on Twitter.
By Charlie Mayock-Bradley, Yale College Class of 2023