Mary Mellor – Eco-Feminism and ‘Handbag Economics’

As part of the new series ‘Another World is Possible’, Northern Visions sat down with Mary Mellor, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Northumbria University.

Mary discusses the concept of eco-feminism and the relationship that the feminist movement has with ecological movement. “It argues that the dominant economy that we live under has marginalised both women and nature.”

She also discusses economic issues and the role of women’s labour in society, and how eco-feminism fits in with socialist theory.

“My first book was subtitled ‘Towards a Feminist, Green Socialism’. I thought that socialism was the most important concept because that is the notion of the whole of society and reorganising it in a more socially just way. But that would have to be green, to take account of the environment, and feminist to take account of women’s work.”

Mary talks about money and the growth of private debt that helped lead to the financial collapse of 2008. She describes what democratic, public money would look like and what a socially just sufficiency economy might entail.

She also discusses the concept of ‘handbag economics’. “It’s the attack on the public, the attack on welfare, the attack on public expenditure, the imposition of austerity – all in the name of the predominance and importance of the private sector.”