Sandi Toksvig has delivered the prestigious Adam Smith on economics and equality.
Published 23 March 2018
WE co-founder Sandi Toksvig last week delivered the Adam Smith Lecture in Kirkcaldy, after an invitation from Sarah Brown, the President of Theirworld, and Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of the UK.
As the first woman to give the lecture solo, she used the speech to challenge an economic orthodoxy that does not recognise or value the unpaid work involved in childcare and social care – which is predominantly done by women.
She set out the concept of “Grossly Undervalued Domestic Product” to reflect the unpaid and unvalued labour that is the foundation on which most so-called “productive” work is built.
Kofi Annan, Mervyn King, and Ed Balls are among the previous speakers at the Adam Smith Lecture.
Sandi Toksvig, co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, said:
“We are calling time on an economy that does not value the work of everybody. The unseen labour which forms the backbone of our society must no longer be dismissed and ignored by economists and policy-makers as ‘economically unproductive’.
“This Grossly Undervalued Domestic Product is an integral part of the economy, not separate or tangential or even a drain on so-called ‘productive’ work. After all, even the father of economics himself, Adam Smith, lived with his mother for his whole life – an arrangement that left him free to write his great works.
“As a first step towards an economy that works for our society, there should be universal free childcare and properly compensated shared parental leave. By giving everybody a stake in care, we would begin to value it properly.
“Economic reform is not just desirable, but inevitable and necessary. We know that more equal countries are happier. Women’s equality has the power to transform both our economy and our lives.”
Sarah Brown, President of Theirworld, said:
“One hundred years since the first women got the vote, we are delighted to welcome Sandi Toksvig to Kirkcaldy to deliver the Adam Smith lecture. From this small town, Adam Smith created ideas big enough to shape modern economics and who better than Sandi to take them forwards.”
Extracts from Sandi's speech are available to read HERE.