Drucilla K. Barker – USA

Linked with Microcredit and Women’s Poverty, and with Good Governance and Participatory Development.

She is Professor of Economics and Director of Women’s Studies, Hollins University, Roanoke, VA 245020.

She says: ” … I don’t like to say what feminist economics is in that sense. I much prefer to think about what are some approaches that characterize feminist economics and define it by those approaches. Gender analysis is central to all these approaches. In other words, a recognition of the social construction of gender, and its intersections with ethnicity, class, nationality, sexual identity and so forth. So feminist approaches examine the ways in which the organization of the economy, especially the gender division of labor, reflects, reproduces and transforms these social hierarchies. Feminist approaches do not privilege the market, but rather examine other ways that societies provide for their material well-being. Thus they recognize that economies are not populated by disembodied actors, but rather by historically situated subjects”. (Interview on Wellesley College).

Drucilla K- Barker - USA one.jpg

Drucilla K. Barker – USA

The value of the 1997 increase in the federal minimum wage has been fully eroded. The real value of today’s federal minimum wage is less than it has been since 1951. Moreover, the ratio of the minimum wage to the average hourly wage of non-supervisory workers is 31%, its lowest level since World War II. This decline is causing hardship for low-wage workers and their families. We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed.

In particular, we share the view the Council of Economic Advisors expressed in the 1999 Economic Report of the President that “the weight of the evidence suggests that modest increases in the minimum wage have had very little or no effect on employment.” While ontroversy about the precise employment effects of the minimum wage continues, research has shown that most of the beneficiaries are adults, most are female, and the vast majority are members of low-income working families. As economists who are concerned about the problems facing low-wage workers, we believe the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005’s proposed phased-in increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 falls well within the range of options where the benefits to the labor market, workers, and the overall economy would be positive. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have set their minimum wages above the federal level. Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio, are considering similar measures. As with a federal increase, modest increases in state minimum wages in the range of $1.00 to $2.50 and indexing to protect against inflation can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed. (Read the rest on Economic Policy Institute).

Drucilla K. Barker (2003) claims critical realism to be entwined with false humanist concepts of agency and human nature. Humanism (or rather Enlightment) considers free human agents the source of value and meaning and places chances for emancipation and progress in recogniton of shared interests and needs, which derive from our biologically grounded common nature. Barker reckons such humanist ”sentiments” laudable, but she takes them to beg the essential question: ”what are the grounds for shared interests, needs, and motives?” (Barker 2003, 106.) In Barker’s view there is no self-evident human nature to answer the question but, to look for openings of emancipation, the central thing is to analyse, in poststructuralist ways, how power constitutes identities and reproduces social structures.

Drucilla K. Barker’s Education, Academic and Administrative Experience, Publicaions, Book Reviews, Seminars, Fellowships, Professional Achievements, Selected Paper Presentations (since 1992), Other Professional Activities, Teaching Areas, Courses Taught and Memberships: (See all that on this page of the Hollins University).

She is currently a Professor of Economics and Women Studies at Hollins University. With a joint professorship, her teaching and research interests are interdisciplinary, focusing on gender and the economy, women and globalization, feminist theory, philosophy, and economic methodology. She is a post-modern feminist economic philosopher. Ms. Barker is a founding member of the International Association for Feminist Economics as well as an editorial board member of Feminist Economics, just a few of her many involvements. She has also contributed extensively to reference works in feminism and economics. Her most recent work is an anthology co-edited with Edith Kuiper titled, Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics. She is currently writing a book with Susan Feiner titled, Liberating Economics: Feminist Perspectives on Gender and Economy. (Read all on Wellesley College / Homepage).

Contact: Hollins University, P.O. Box 9531, Roanoke, VA 245020, Phone 504-362-6251 (office), Fax 540-362-6286, write, WEB.

1) Susan F. Feiner. and Drucilla K. Barker. Liberating Economics: Feminist Perspectives on Families, Work, and Globalization. 2004;
2) Edith Kuiper and Drucilla K. Barker, eds. Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Economics. 2003;
3) Barker, Drucilla K. “Beyond Women and Economics: Rereading ‘Women’s Work’”. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society, Summer2005, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p2189-2209. Available in paper in the Transylvania Library;
4) Barker, Drucilla. “Emancipatory for Whom? A Comment on Critical Realism.” Feminist Economics; Mar2003, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p103. Full Text available on the Transylvania campus;
5) Barker, Drucilla K. “Dualisms, Discourse, and Development.” Hypatia; Summer98, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p83. Full Text available on the Transylvania campus.

Review of 1): Work for women outside of the home was once thought to be the basis of women’s equality and liberation. And it still may be. But the quality of that work is certainly of great importance, too. How have women fared with respect to the quality of the work that they have done in the past century? What consequences, if any, follow from globalization for the lives of female workers around the world? Is a distinctly feminist model of economics necessary for understanding women’s lives or will classical economic models suffice? Drucilla Barker and Susan Feiner pursue all three of these questions very seriously and with considerable success in Liberating Economics.

Review of 2): Feminist economists have demonstrated that interrogating hierarchies based on gender, ethnicity, class and nation results in an economics that is biased and more faithful to empirical evidence than are mainstream accounts. This rigorous and comprehensive book examines many of the central philosophical questions and themes in feminist economics including: History of economics, Feminist science studies, Identity and agency, Caring labor, Postcolonialism and Postmodernism. With contributions from such leading figures as Nancy Folbre, Julie Nelson and Sandra Harding, Toward a Feminist Theory of Economics looks set to become the book on feminist economics for some time to come and will be greatly appreciated by all those interested in gender studies, economic methodology and social theory. Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Economics.
Another book: Feminist Economics and the World Bank;

Books on amazon.


Beyond Women and Economics, a Rereading on “Women’s Work”, 21 pages;

Brooklyn Campus Library; Feminist Economics and the World Bank;

Reviews on Feminist Economics;

ECONOMICS net base/classic books on Economy;


Global Feminism and the “Problem” of Culture … ;


Comments are closed.