I have recently discovered Marilyn Waring, an incredibly intelligent Kiwi economist. Terre Nash made a documentary about her in 1995 called Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies, and Global Economics. Most of what Waring speaks of in the film is still relevant today. She is insightful, brilliant, and revolutionary. You must watch this film.
Waring speaks about several topics, but most salient to me (other than the very relevant topic of how women around the world are literally undervalued) was how she ties GDP to the war machine. From the very inception of the GDP system, it was about funding war for the British Empire, and to this day the incentives upon which GDP is based skew what societies around the world consider “valuable.” I’ll let Waring explain it, because she does it so much better than I could. She manages to put into words so eloquently what you’ve probably intuitively understood all along but lacked the words for. Watch the full-length documentary here.
Thank you, Marilyn Waring, for your brilliance and eloquence, and for the wonderful contributions you’ve made to the world of women, your constituents in New Zealand, and the wider world, too. And thank you, Terre Nash, for giving her a voice.
Edited to add: Peggy O’Mara, founder of Mothering magazine, recently wrote an article that very closely relates to this topic, the economic value of women and the contributions we make to society, and related it back to breastfeeding. Titled “The Economic Value of Breastmilk,” her article explores the idea of giving monetary value to breastmilk itself, and therefore including it in GDP calculations. At the end, she writes, “What do we need to do to add breast milk production to our Gross Domestic Product?” Great question, Peggy.