This article focuses on the current trend for investing in women and girls as ‘smart economics’, which is a direct descendant of the efficiency approach to women in development (WID) prevalent in the wake of the economic crisis in the 1980s. We highlight the dangers of conflating the empowerment of women as individuals with the feminist goal of removing the structural discrimination which women face as a gendered constituency, and consider the implications for feminists in development if they adopt smart economics-speak and work in coalition with individuals and organisations who have fundamentally different aims. This has attractions in strategic terms, but risks recreating the very problems gender and development seeks to transform.
This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.
How to cite this resource
Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context. You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL
Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.