El Futuro del Pasado (2020-09-01)

Women and Meritocracy. Historical Roots of a Paradigm and Current Possibilities of Transformation

  • Rosa María Almansa Pérez

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 0
pp. 593 – 635


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The work investigates about the possibilities that a majority of women contribute to form a social subject of transformation of the current competitive-meritocratic model. It is started from the hypothesis that meritocratic valuation is at the base of all historical forms of social inequality, including gender inequality. An approach that is confirmed through a review of the attribution of merits to the dominant classes from the beginning of social stratification to the contemporary age. Although with the latter, women are becoming incorporated, thanks to the conquest of rights, into the mechanisms of competition that are characteristic of our societies, a large number continue to find themselves on the margins or in inferior conditions to compete. Feminist economics and ecofeminism have revealed that this is due, in part, to the fact that a majority of women continue to be involved in care work and work that reproduces life. These remain outside the dynamics of meritocratic competition and the permanent revaluation of capital. For this reason, such approaches integrate them into the alternatives to the current ecological, economic and social crisis. This type of life’s recreation activities can be connected with the notions of good or self-realized work that have long been handled. We find then that women could be an important part of a process of transformation of the current paradigm that legitimizes inequalities, and the degradation and destruction of life at all levels.