Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 47.1A

Beyond the Rhetoric of Choice: Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in Developed Countries

Published on 3 March 2016

In preparing for the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action on women’s economic empowerment, both formal policy documents and media coverage in developed countries such as the Netherlands resonate with the rhetoric of choice between work and care.

In this article, my central argument is that framing the combination of work and care as a matter of personal choice stands in the way of economically empowering women. To promote sustainability in combining career and care, we need to expose, challenge and bend underlying norms about gender roles.

For policymakers to take responsibility in the economic empowerment of women, both policy documents and media coverage should promote win–win instead of zero sum solutions in combining work and care, for both men and women.

Related Content

IDS Bulletin 47.1A


Claartje J. Vinkenburg

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
IDS Bulletin, volume 47, issue 1A


About this publication


Related content


Informal Economy Perspectives on the Prevalence of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Bangladesh’s Leather Industry

CLARISSA Research and Evidence Paper 8

A.K.M. Maksud & 3 others

21 May 2024