Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Gender-Based Violence, Economic Security, and the Potential of Basic Income: A Discussion Paper

Cameron, Anna and Tedds, Lindsay M. (2021): Gender-Based Violence, Economic Security, and the Potential of Basic Income: A Discussion Paper.

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In Canada, diverse people face violence and abuse at alarming rates as a result of their gender, perceived gender, or gender expression. This phenomenon is referred to as gender-based violence (GBV). Gender-based violence has many manifestations, including sexual assault, femicide, and intimate partner violence (IPV), as well as dowry-related violence, early or forced marriage and pregnancy, female genital mutilation, elder abuse, human trafficking, sexual harassment, cyber abuse, and many other forms, both visible and invisible. Crucially, GBV does not simply occur in the context of inter-personal relationships or as the result of perpetration by ‘bad men’; rather, GBV is a systemic issue that seizes upon and operates through longstanding pathologies and power dynamics—patriarchy, racism, colonialism, and transphobia to name few—rendering diverse people more vulnerable to victimization on the basis of their identity.

Strategies, policies, and programs focused on ensuring victims and survivors can achieve economic security will form a vital component of any serious plan to address GBV. On this point there is notable consensus. Less agreement exists, however, when debate begins on the question of which strategies, policies, and programs ought to be implemented. In this discussion paper, we weigh in on this debate through an evaluation of an economic security tool over which there has been much fanfare in recent years: the basic income model. Two questions guide our analysis: (1) to what extent could a basic income disrupt the material conditions and forms of oppression which drive GBV, and thus reduce both risk and prevalence? and (2) to what extent would basic income be an effective support for those encountering/recovering from various forms of GBV? Our analysis is driven by two definitional assumptions about economic security and basic income. That is, we consider economic security to be a state in which criteria for financial security, stability, and continuity are fulfilled, and conceive of basic income as a class of policies that share principles of simplicity, respect, economic security, and social inclusion.

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