Feminism och jämställdhet i en nyliberal kontext 1990-2010

Martin Wottle, Eva Blomberg


The article discusses the relationship between gender equality politics and the advancement of neo-liberalism in Sweden from the 1980s–90s. As theoretical starting point serves a discussion by Nancy Fraser, concerning the relationship between feminism and neo-liberalism, and her fears that capitalism has co-opted the feminist agenda, in fact putting feminism in the service of market-liberalism. From many perspectives, it is evident that Swedish society, like so many in the Western world, has been subjected to the forces of market logic, imbuing the politics from conservatism to social-democracy alike. To what extent has this development affected feminism on the one hand, and gender equality politics on the other? Do we detect a new kind of liberal feminism? A neo-liberal feminism? The article makes use of empirical evidence concerning the current politics on behalf of the Liberal-Conservative Swedish Government to promote female entrepreneurship. Three political areas with relevance for both gender equality and the issue of female entrepreneurship are investigated: the future of the public welfare sector, the issue of tax-deduction for household services, and, finally, gender quotas and women on company boards. While promoting a politics where the market is increasingly substituted for the public welfare-sector, and offered as a solution in most political areas, the Liberal-Conservatives of today have nevertheless embraced a feminist rhetoric. Acknowledging the forces of ‘the gender powerorder’ and structural inequality is now a standard feature within liberal gender equality politics. This political merger between feminism and neo-liberal politics may be interpreted as just paying lip-service; as a way of reconciling a long tradition of consensus surrounding gender equality with the overall neo-liberal aim of transforming the entire society along market principles. But, we may also see a neo-liberal feminism in its own right, intent on expanding the field of gender equality to enterprise, ownership and economic power.

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