Financing Social Protection: Feminist Alternatives to Austerity

The post-COVID world is facing a new wave of austerity, spiced with several elements. First, the state of public finances in many countries, especially in the global south. Governments are facing the consequences of spending efforts to address the pandemic through public policies in health areas, but also sustaining the income of the most affected populations. In addition to the expansion of spending, countries are facing a limited recovery of their fiscal income, as economies are recovering slowly, in a context of uncertainty due to multiple conflicts and accelerating global inflation, particularly affecting energy and food prices. The context of austerity is problematic from a feminist point of view. When governments restrict public spending, essential dimensions of social provision are affected. Austerity is not an entelechy. It takes shape in people's daily lives. Austerity also operates in a terrain characterised by gender gaps in its multiple intersectionalities. Thus, the impacts of austerity are unequal. The restriction of spending on social services, such as education and health, has a double impact. On the one hand on households' access to public services in these areas. On the other hand, it has an impact on wage and employment conditions in these sectors, which are often feminised.