May 22, 2020

Women leaders successfully fighting coronavirus show why we need a feminist foreign policy

By Lyric Thompson and Gawain Kripke

In recent weeks, calls have abounded to pay more than lip service to women’s contributions to the global economy. Suddenly we are hearing more about the female face of essential workers — both on the homefront and on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has shown, again and again, “women’s work” — otherwise known as the care economy — is essential work. Yet laud it though we might, care work is all too often unpaid and consistently among the lowest-paid job categories. Economists estimate that women’s unpaid work provides a subsidy to the global economy of more than $10 trillion annually. That’s bigger than the nominal GDP of India, the U.K. and France combined. And that’s a conservative estimate.