Women & Social Economy
Is Quebec’s « Third Way » gender-sensitive?
Denyse Côté and Danielle Fournier have an instructive, if troubling story to tell. It concerns how governments in Québec, nationalist and Liberal, have « neutered » what started out in 1995 as an intriguing, regionally-administered experiment in social economy. Shorn of women’s direct input, multidimensional strategies have given way to self-employment and business programming.
« This ‘Third Way,’ known as ‘social economy’ in Québec, has been funded by the provincial, regional, and local governments since 1996, after the Sommet de l’économie et de l’emploi (Economy and Work Summit) and the Marche des femmes ‘Du pain et des roses’ ('Bread and Roses' Women’s March) of 1995.
« How do we determine if this Québecois model of social economy is ‘gender-sensitive,’ that is, if it ascribes importance to differences in gender? To answer this question, it is necessary to consider both how this model addresses women’s strategic needs … and their practical needs…. What follows is a quick review of some of the progress and some of the setbacks in this regard in policies in support of social economy. »