Feminist Review

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 49–72 | Cite as

crisis, austerity and gendered governance: a feminist perspective

  • Penny Griffin


Feminist scholars have been highly attentive to the ways that crises have become an everyday technique of global governance. They are particularly sensitive to the mechanisms through which ‘crisis management’ entrenches the power of particular economic orders and constrains the possibilities, and space, for contestation and critique. This paper seeks to contribute to but also to extend existing feminist research on financial crisis by arguing that, over the course of what has commonly been labelled the ‘global financial crisis’, the emergence of ‘crisis governance feminism’ has enabled existing structures and mechanisms of gendered privilege, such as the global financial industry, to suppress calls for their overhaul and to re-entrench their power in the global political economy. Adopting a discursive approach to gender and governance that situates gender centrally in understanding governance discourses and their reproduction of common sense (about what people do, how they labour, where they invest and so on), this paper argues that the governance of crisis in the contemporary era, in particular the various actors, institutions, policies and ideas that have sought to describe and ‘contain’ the global financial crisis, are gendered. Gender has become, in the contemporary global political economy, a technique of governance, and with deleterious effects. Despite inciting more discussion of ‘gender’ in economic systems than ever before (particularly in terms of discussions of ‘economic competitiveness’), this paper argues that the ‘global financial crisis’ has precipitated and continues to reproduce techniques of governance that trivialise feminist concerns while further embedding a masculinised, white and elitist culture of global financial privilege.


crisis feminism finance gender masculinism austerity 



This paper draws on research that has received financial support from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia. The author would like to thank the special issue editors and, in particular, the anonymous reviewers of this paper for their insightful, careful and invaluable reading of and comments on the original submission.


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© Feminist Review 2015

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  • Penny Griffin

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