Men have used gender to decide their business strategy for centuries. Think the new television show Mr Selfridge about the start of the Selfridges shopping empire and the trend of shopping for leisure which exploited women’s emerging need to assert themselves as individuals. As the time that the suffragette movement was emerging most women didn’t work outside the home, but shopping gave them a way to express their individuality. And they liked it! Think about car advertising and football and how we see targeted campaigns for men or for women to entice them to their brands. These all have attributes of gender economics so when you think it doesn’t apply to you – think again. Ask yourself why you recently brought that Jeep, or you think its OK to gamble at a Casino.
Many men think that Gender Economics is a women’s issue, but it is not. Men have a gendered role which is often stereotyped and restrictive. They can be just as affected by gendered decisions as women, and there are clear cases where this exists. Often these decisions are coupled with values based judgements that see the intersection of race and gender, much like the idea for some that all young Muslim men must be terrorists. Of course this isn’t true, but think about the policies and laws that have already been put into place using underlying assumptions about men and women, culture and religion. Although some of these polices can be positive, many end up degrading the lives of people because of a judgement made about their gender.
Check out the conference site www.centreforgendereconomics.org for more examples.