Quick Hit: Companies Should Try Actually Supporting Impoverished Women

This week on The Ladies’ Finger — a feminist website you guys should absolutely follow — Sneha Rajaram takes down global consulting behemoth McKinsey on what it really means to support the financial lives of impoverished women in the Global South (India specifically).

Her point? When you claim to care about rural women’s financial success, maybe you should…actually care about rural women, and not your own damn industry.

Rajaram outlines a McKinsey list of recommendations aiming to “unlock women’s [financial] potential.” Seems cool. Except, points out Rajaram, these recommendations are actually aimed toward improving women’s productivity — rather than their lives. Translation: More profit for companies, and a devaluation of the super skilled labor, both paid and in the home, rural women in India are already doing. (As Rajaram reminds us, maybe McKinsey executives should try a day in the life.)

Of course, individual women who want to move into higher productivity jobs because that improves their own lives deserve the world’s support. But can’t productivity (i.e. higher pay, to continue the decoding), better working conditions, unionisation, vacations, insurance, and pensions themselves be shifted to the work that women currently do, if they want to continue doing it? Can it be that traditional women’s work will never be compensated in the way that, say, STEM work will be, because our age of compulsive technology-mongering and war-mongering needs (or thinks it needs) STEM more than “less skilled” “women’s work”?

It’s a great article not only in helping us to understand this particular case, but in offering us a useful set of questions as we consider companies at home that claim to be helping rural and impoverished women in the Global South. And it reminds us that women’s liberation is inseparable from labor justice.

Read Rajaram’s article — and check out the rest of the site — here!

Image: Wall Street Journal

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing her masters.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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