Gender, Health and Development: Insights for a Feminist Economy of Well-being

Gender, Health and Development: Insights for a Feminist Economy of Well-being

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No. 193 Aegon-Industrial Global Health Symposium

Outline of the talk

This presentation will explore the idea of a feminist economy of well-being and how progress towards such an economy might be measured. The context is one where there is increasing demand for a new concept and measure of the economy as seen in calls from the UN Secretary-General for thinking ‘Beyond GDP’. What, then, are the limitations of the concept and measure of GDP growth: what are the meanings ascribed to GDP, what does it measure or exclude, and how do we move towards measures that better capture human well-being? In this endeavor, health is critical both as an input and outcome of development: it is a result of economic, social, environmental and other determinants, while contributing to ‘human capital’, productivity and economic growth. It must thus be central to any alternative definition or measure of economic well-being. Bringing a feminist perspective to these debates involves understanding ways in which gender structures the economy. This can include, for example, the gender division of labour, who is responsible for social reproduction, how care is provided, and the implications of different roles for women’s health and well-being. How have such concerns been integrated into debates about growth, development and well-being, and what does this mean for thinking about an alternative ‘beyond GDP’ measure of progress? 

*Suggested background reading: ‘From Economic Growth to a Well-being Economy: Notes for a Feminist Foreign Policy’ with Naila Kabeer, AFFPC Issues Paper Series, No. 11 June 2023 Wellbeing-and-Feminist-Foreign-Policy-AFFPC-Issue-Paper-11-1-1.pdf (


Sarah Cook is Professor and Head of School of Economics at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China and a Visiting Researcher at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.  She was formerly Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and UNICEF’s Office of Research- the Innocenti Research Centre. She has published widely on issues related to China’s economic and social development, including issues of gender, labour markets, migration, health and social policy, and has led multi-country programmes of research on social policy and protection with a focus on Asia. Current research focuses on the potential role of digital technologies in promoting structural transformation in low income economies, on the nexus of care, climate change and gender just transitions, and on feminist economics approaches to well-being.

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Event year - 2024

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Date And Time

04-11-2024 @ 12:00 PM to
04-11-2024 @ 01:00 PM



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