“Undoing patriarcapitalism in our mentalities is possible”

Professor of economics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia) and columnist for “The World”, Pauline Grosjean conceptualizes, in a book published at Le Seuil, “patriarcapitalism”, or how the structure of domination , culture and gender identity interact with the economic system to impede gender equality.

The 1980s witnessed tremendous economic progress for women. What has happened since?

At the end of the 1980s, women were on average more educated than men in Western countries, no longer or very little interrupted their careers to take care of their families, and entered professions, in particular medicine or health. magistracy, which previously were reserved for men. But the explosion of income inequalities since has been marked by a widening of economic inequalities between women and men.

This gap is explained by the systematic differences in terms of choice of profession and industry, differences dictated by injunctions to satisfy gender identities, and by social considerations of natural qualities assumed to be feminine or masculine: this is what I call patriarcapitalism.

Australia, where I have resided since 2011, is a particularly interesting case due to a particular historical experience that has left indelible traces on gender norms. The country has long been characterized by a very significant demographic imbalance, with an increase in the number of men compared to women, both because of its status as a penal colony and mainly male voluntary immigration. This historical experience provides a better understanding of the formation of societal gender norms, their economic impacts and their long-term persistence.

Has robotization made the reconciliation between professional and private life easier?

Contrary to expectations, no: we work even more, especially in positions of responsibility. We then speak of “Opt-out revolution” : some women, mothers and highly educated, realize that their work is incompatible with motherhood. In academia, if a woman is successful, her nulliparous status will be highlighted. We will say: “She is a professor at Harvard, but she has no children.” We will never have the same remark for a man.

How to fight against gender inequalities in business?

Large companies have to publish their financial accounts several times a year, but almost nothing forces them to disclose anything about diversity issues. Little public data exists on the distribution of the various hierarchical positions between women and men. Companies are not even forced to publicize cases of sexual harassment.

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