News | "When the Belt Can't Get Any Tighter"

Public presentation of the RLS Country Reports on Austerity, 5 November, Berlin

Feminist strike in Madrid, March 8 2018, Foto: Álvaro Minguito

Monday, 5 November 2018 I 18.00–20.00  I Südblock–Aquarium, Berlin-Kreuzberg

Beginning with the 2007 financial crisis which later expanded into the euro crisis, many countries enacted harsh austerity measures. In Southern Europe and Ireland, this austerity was largely dictated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, it was the pressure to succeed placed on the EU new member states and their desire to gain rapid integration into the European economic market which compelled respective governments to accept tight budgets.

Whatever the individual case may be – the mantra of saving money for the sake of balanced budgets, improved competitiveness and debt avoidance has devastating consequences on women’s working and living conditions as well as gender relations more generally. The national studies on the effects of austerity on women commissioned by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung are devoted to exploring these developments in more detail.

Under the title "Austerity, Gender Inequality and Feminism after the Crisis", the authors not only evaluated data on women’s levels of employment and income, but looked more closely at how cost-cutting measures have directly affected equality, as well as rule changes and new regulations in the same spirit.

How do savings policies affect gender roles in the family? Who takes responsibility for raising and caring for both young and old when the state ceases to provide support? What does it mean when gender equality commissioners and the support programs tied to them have their funding cut? Where do women go when there are no crisis centres available for victims of domestic violence? Who will look after unwanted children if abortion is ruled illegal?

The studies depict a topography of what effects the European austerity diktat has had on gender relations, and formulate demands for a left-wing feminist politics rooted in social justice and gender equality.


  • Johanna Bussemer, head of the European Department at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Presentation and Discussion

  • "Should women have more rights?" Traditional Values and Austerity in Russia
    Marianna Muravyeva – Author and professor of  law at the National  Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow and co-chair of the Women and Gender Network of the European Sciences History Conference 
  • "Irish Feminist Approaches against Austerity Regimes"
    Mary Murphy – Author and political sociologist in Maynooth University. (via Skype)
    Dr. Pauline Cullen – Author and lecturer in Sociology and Politics in the Department of Sociology, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland. (via Skype)
  • "Death by a Thousand Cuts" Impact of Austerity Measures on Women in Croatia
    Marija ĆaćićAuthor and translator. Currently a member of the Program Committee of Women’s Union School organized by BRID (OWID), she was also editor-in-chief of the magazines Zarez and Slobodni Filozofski. She has translated, written for and edited special issues on reproductive rights, sex work and feminist theory
  • "Gendered Aspects of the Austerity Regime in Greece: 2010–2017" Austerity, Gender Inequality and Feminism after the Crisis in Greece
    Ioanna Maitani– Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Greece
  • Commentary:How do left political parties position themselves with regard to the gendered impacts of austerity? Is there potential for mobilizing support for a feminist political economy ahead of the 2019 EP elections?
    Alex Wischnewski
    – advisor on feminist politics for DIE LINKE in the German Bundestag

Moderation: Simone Schmollack (Journalist)

German-English translation will be available.


Südblock – Aquarium I Skalitzer Str. 6 I 10999 Berlin I U-Bhf Kottbusser Tor