SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Feminism: Neoliberal Tool or Fuel for the 99%?

Professor Hester Eisenstein (The City University of New York, USA)

Date: 12 November 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 November 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT)

Type of Event: Seminar


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Feminism Neoliberal Tool or Fuel for the 99%?

Ten years ago, I published Feminism Seduced: How Global Elites Use Women’s Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World. I argued that mainstream feminism was being co-opted and used by corporate and government elites to help achieve the goals of neoliberalism, from the ending of welfare in the US to the use of women as a substitute for development in impoverished countries. Today we are living through an era of renewed women’s activism: women’s marches and teachers’ strikes in the United States; the #MeToo movement; the Irish victory on abortion; the Ni Una Menos movement in Argentina; the international Google strike over sexual harassment; and the International Women’s Day strikes in Spain and elsewhere. Are these events instances of ‘feminist class struggle’, as Cinzia Arruzza argues? I will address some of the contemporary debates over this new wave, including its relation to mainstream feminism and to Marxism and social reproduction theory. 

Hester Eisenstein is a Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. Her most recent book is Feminism Seduced: How Global Elites Use Women’s Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World (Routledge, 2009). Her previous publications include Contemporary Feminist Thought (1984) and Inside Agitators: Australian Femocrats and the State (1994). She has taught at Yale University, Barnard College (Columbia University), and the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also served as a ‘femocrat’ in the Wran Labor government of New South Wales, Australia.

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Organiser: Feyzi Ismail (