Basic Income, Gender Justice and the Costs of Gender-Symmetrical Lifestyles

Basic Income Studies 3 (3) (2008)
Abstract
I argue that, in the currently gender-unjust societies a basic income would not advance feminist goals. To assess the impact of a social policy on gender justice I propose the following criterion: a society is gender-just when the costs of engaging in a lifestyle characterized by gender-symmetry (in both the domestic and public spheres) are, for both men and women, smaller or equal to the costs of engaging in a gender-asymmetrical lifestyle. For a significant number of women, a basic income would increase the costs of leading gender-symmetrical lifestyles because it would make it easier for both women and men to pursue gender-unjust preferences. I argue that preference satisfaction is distinct from justice. I conclude by showing why a basic income would lead to further privatisation of caregiving, and I outline the negative effects this would have on women.
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