Society

Why Feminism And Capitalism Can Never Be Reconciled

The 'feminist free marketeer' is an oxymoron, when the free market is a bastion of the socioeconomic inequalities feminism opposes.

Pro life rally in Bogotá, Colombia on May 4, 2019
Laura Macias

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — I squirm, I must confess, whenever I hear a woman blindly defending the free-market system and laissez-faire capitalism. While feminism was not created to tell women what or how to think, it's time to reflect on these impassioned defenses. I particularly want to consider why defending the unfettered free market and being a woman are simply not compatible.

One of the causes of the gaping power inequalities between men and women in modern societies is the latter's evident economic disempowerment. This is also caused by the inflexible division of labor that makes men the economic providers and assigns women the role of caregiver, that places men in charge of public life and women at home.

Evidently, maternity becomes the biggest load and punishment for any woman wanting to reverse the roles and work at becoming her own provider. One only need view reports on wage gaps that widen with every new son or daughter.

It is not about demonizing the market but considering the evidence.

The unregulated market runs with current cultural cannons and beliefs, merely serving to reinforce and widen gender inequalities. The market has flaws and generally fails those men and women finding themselves in positions of greater vulnerability. It is not about demonizing the market but considering the evidence and recognizing that the said "free-market economy" is not always the solution for a prosperous and inclusive society.

The market fails to provide services like child care and hospitals for all socio-economic sectors. It fails to provide decent, stable jobs with equal salaries for women. Figures show that countries with extensive public sectors have greater gender equality at work, because more women are hired to work in the public sector than the private.

Women are the last to be hired and first to be fired during financial crises, as research by Kristen Rogheh Ghodsee of the University of Pennsylvania has shown. And such crises are of course cyclical in the capitalist system. It is no secret women suffered more in the last crisis in Europe and continue to suffer a great deal from austerity policies that have cut public spending. The state's intervention is needed to level the field between men and women, while policies ensuring free and universal access to child care and healthcare are imperative for any country wanting to achieve gender equality.

When speaking of a country like Colombia where the situation of rural and poor women is even more complicated, state intervention, as Ghodsee has shown, is a great aid to heads of households (who are mostly women). It allows them to abandon abusive situations much more easily and gives them sexual freedom and control over their bodies.

None of this is populism or Venezuelan-style socialism. We need to stop demonizing policies of social intervention on the mythical premises of "meritocracy" or by lionizing personal determination. Let us stop romanticizing men and women who are forced to renounce their human rights and dignity amid economic difficulties, to progress in a system created by — and for the benefit of — just one half of the population.

Only once we've put aside all our prejudices and stereotypes can we then discuss whether or not a fully deregulated market is the right way.

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La Sagrada Familia Delayed Again — Blame COVID-19 This Time

Hopes were dashed by local officials to see the completion of the iconic Barcelona church in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the death of its renowned architect Antoni Guadí.

Work on La Sagrada Familia has been delayed because of the pandemic

By most accounts, it's currently the longest-running construction project in the world. And now, the completion of work on the iconic Barcelona church La Sagrada Familia, which began all the way back in 1882, is going to take even longer.

Barcelona-based daily El Periodico daily reports that work on the church, which began as the vision of master architect Antoni Gaudí, was slated to be completed in 2026. But a press conference Tuesday, Sep. 21 confirmed that the deadline won't be met, in part because of delays related to COVID-19. Officials also provided new details about the impending completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin).

El Periódico - 09/22/2021

El Periodico daily reports on the latest delay from what may be the longest-running construction project in the world.

One tower after the other… Slowly but surely, La Sagrada Familia has been growing bigger and higher before Barcelonians and visitors' eager eyes for nearly 140 years. However, all will have to be a bit more patient before they see the famous architectural project finally completed. During Tuesday's press conference, general director of the Construction Board of the Sagrada Familia, Xavier Martínez, and the architect director, Jordi Faulí, had some good and bad news to share.

As feared, La Sagrada Familia's completion date has been delayed. Because of the pandemic, the halt put on the works in early March when Spain went into a national lockdown. So the hopes are dashed of the 2026 inauguration in what would have been the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.

Although he excluded new predictions of completion until post-COVID normalcy is restored - no earlier than 2024 -, Martínez says: "Finishing in 2030, rather than being a realistic forecast, would be an illusion, starting the construction process will not be easy," reports La Vanguardia.

But what's a few more years when you already have waited 139, after all? However delayed, the construction will reach another milestone very soon with the completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin), the first tower of the temple to be completed in 44 years and the second tallest spire of the complex. It will be crowned by a 12-pointed star which will be illuminated on December 8, Immaculate Conception Day.

Next would be the completion of the Evangelist Lucas tower and eventually, the tower of Jesus Christ, the most prominent of the Sagrada Familia, reaching 172.5 meters thanks to an illuminated 13.5 meters wide "great cross." It will be made of glass and porcelain stoneware to reflect daylight and will be illuminated at night and project rays of light.

La Sagrada Familia through the years

La Sagrada Familia, 1889 - wikipedia

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