Belgrade, 26 December 2019.

Research on «Feminist Approaches against Austerity Regimes»

For several decades women have been organized worldwide to challenge economic and political systems based on patriarchy, exploitation and multiple forms of discrimination. These struggles are becoming particularly challenging in confronting the neoliberal regimes of the last decades in Europe that notonlyproducedamassivewealthredistributionfromthebottomtothetop, but had also profound effects on gender relations and the gendered distribution of paid employment and unpaid housework and caring tasks.

However, austerity is produced by different actors, policies and institutions.IntheSouth-EuropeancountriesandIreland it is mainly the regime of the EU institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the financial crisis. For countries in Eastern Europe the conditions of EU membership and their peripheral integration into the EU economy after post-socialist deindustrialization are major factors. And the policies of EU neighboring countries and accession candidates like Ukraine or Serbia are conditioned by harsh EU and IMF conditions in the context of the EU accession or association process. Additionally some of the national governments use the external regulations as an opportunity to implement even further-reaching neoliberal policies.

Nevertheless, almost everywhere the austerity mantra to achieve balanced national budgets, to avoid public debts, to compete internationally for foreign direct investments (FDI) has immense impact on the working and living conditions of women and gender relations. Socially necessary reproductive work and caring tasks are shifted (back) into the traditionally/historically feminized sphere of private household. Welfare cuts such as in child and health care have therefor the result, that its women who stay at home to take on the unpaid care work - or to pay other women, often migrants, to do so. The ongoing privatization and commodification of social and public infrastructure like schools, kindergardens, hospitals, care for the elderly etc. affect women not only in their position as family care takers and main users of these publicly provided services, but also because it is mostly women who work in these increasingly low-paid jobs.

Thisre-privatizationofcareworkisbasedonaconceptofgenderrolesthatis relaying on women as caretakers in terms of motherhood and providing care for elderly people. Important part of an effective crisis management are therefor also gendered invocations of individuals by the state as well as the civil society and techniques of government that assign specific tasks and responsibilities to those individuals. Here assigning the low or unpaid care work to women.
Inthissense it seems fitting, that simultaneously, in some countries an alarming process of implementing new laws in the field of body politics becomes obvious. Such as in Poland, where the government proposed to implement an almost complete ban of abortions. Ongoing conflicts govern the struggle for same-sex marriage in many European countries.

Atthesametime we witness struggles and protests around this legal shifts and the corresponding public discourses. That raises the political relevant questions whether those acts of resistance are directed against the gendered invocations and assignment of responsibilities and carry the potential of destabilizing austerity regimes and whether and how a connection of the often isolated left struggles in the social field and around body politics is or can be developed.
Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Europe published a comprehensive overview (as online and/or print publication) on the current situation of women under austerity regimes in Europe as well as the impacts of societal changes concerning gender roles and images, body politics, right to self-determination, etc.

The studies took into account the UN Action Plan «The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development» as well as the EU strategy «Strategic engagement for Gender Equality 2016 - 2019», 2019 Report on equality between women and men in the EU (pdf file) and the CEDAW Recommendations for each country and – if existing – the CEDAW shadow reports.

Up until no RLS awarded author’s contracts for several country studies on the aforementioned key issues. The focus countries of this research were:

Spain / Greece / Ireland / Poland / Serbia or Croatia / Ukraine / Germany / Russia.

For more information: https://www.rosalux.de/en/news/id/38926/

Inyear 2020 RLS will award author’s contract for the study case of Slovenia.

The country study should follow the following frame structure and key issues:

  1. Impact of austerity measures on women – based on an analysis of available statistics and data (see annex 1).
  2. Overview of legislative changes, (in the last 5 years) and the corresponding public discourse, taking into account at least the following laws and documents (list not complete): laws on abortion / laws on sexual abuse and domestic violence / maternity protection acts / pension laws / laws on marriage and family / laws on gender equality/ labor laws / national strategies and action plans for gender equality.
  3. Main section: Analysis of the resulting and underlying societal changes – concerning shrinking social policies, gender equality, gender roles and images, body and sexuality policies, rights of self determination, the withdrawal of women to the unpaid labor market, etc. – and an analysis of conflicts and resistance addressing these changes. Intersectional approach/methodology is encouraged in this section.
  4. Analysis and recommendations for left actors:
  • How are left actors (parties, civil society actors) addressing the nexus between austerity and gender relations?
  • How should a feminist approach for an economic, financial, social policy and an alternative to austerity which provides gender justice look like?
  • What should left actors demand and struggle for? Who could be cooperation partners/allies?

The aim of the research and publication project is to empower feminist and women organizations as well as left actors and decision makers in different European countries both with arguments and narratives in their struggles for more gender equality, be it in the field of social or health policies or generally for better living and working conditions for women. The findings of the research will also be presented and discussed on different events in 2020/2021.

Assignment and qualifications

The assignment of a country study includes the following elements:

  • Designing and implementing an analysis focused on the topics mentioned above in coordination with RLS,
  • Authoring a country study in English language of about 20 standard pages (of 1.800 characters),
  • The willingness to present and discuss the study in public.

RLS expects the contractor to have the following qualifications:

  • academic and possibly activist expertise in the field of gender relations, gender equality, social and/or gender policies regarding the respective country,
  • expertise regarding specific left and feminist political actors in the country,
  • research experience, especially in comparative or collaborative research projects,
  • relevant experiences in empirical social research and academic work.
  • Expertise in the field of feminist studies and experiences in feminist organizing and work is an asset.

The paper should be submitted until 30 July 2020.

Your offer for conducting one of the country studies should include the following:

  • abstract (not more than 2 pages),
  • proposed structure of the study, (together with the abstract not more than 5 Pages)
  • complete and comprehensive CV,
  • list of publications,
  • calculation of total honorary costs.

Please state if you are liable to VAT or exempt. For each component study including all taxes, travel and incidental expenses the budget ceiling is about 2.000 EUR.
Deadline for the submission of offers is 30 January 2020! Please send your offer via email to
ksenija.forca@rosalux.org .

Only successful bidders will be informed about the awarding decision until 15 February 2020.

If you have questions regarding the tender,pleasecontact: Dorit Riethmüller, dorit.riethmueller@rosalux.org.

Annex 1

Data Base to make Austerity Measures Visible:

  • Mapping of governmental bodies and their budgets for women issues
  • Cuts in public spending compared to the real conditions/interest of international donors (IWF-IMF). (E.g. In Ukraine the government cuts more than it would have to do)
  • Unemployment rate of women compared to men
  • Amount of Maternity leave
  • All forms of Child benefit / family benefit
  • Costs for child care
  • Percent of gender pay gap
  • Counting of care time for pension
  • If available data on: women working domestic work, labor black market
  • Spending on public infrastructure over the last 10 years and its effect on women/free social services
  • Gender based violence and its connection with the economic situation.
  • Minority rights under austerity: intersectional approach (migrants, Roma, refugees, LGBTQI)