Women, Property Rights and Economic Development

Yasmin Valdez  | 07 de septiembre de 2018  | Vistas: 92

Jayme Lemke is an economist and senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at the George Mason University. During this conference she explains economic rights, focusing on women’s experience throughout history and today. Jayme begins with the history and context of the topic in the United States and links it to Guatemala.

Most of the time when women moved to work, prior to industrialization, it was either for the purpose of working as a domestic helper, a teacher or in sexual services.”

Lemke starts explaining the definition of economic rights and some misconceptions about certain key elements that associate with the concept. Later presents how the economic rights were in 1800's, and where did the idea of controlling and restricting women’s life came from. She proceeds to answer the question of, how did so much change in the Nineteenth Century in the United States?, by describing three reasons that explain that evolution.

  • New opportunities to work outside home.
  • Choice in law
  • Key figures believed that economic rights were important for women. 

If women don’t care themselves about their economic independence, about the ability to take on this wide range of choices, about their agency, then offering them economic rights, it’s not going to be an appealing lure.”

The economist discusses the negative aspects of women gaining work opportunities and independence. Lemke tells how men reacted to limit their job choices and productivity and points out the impact of the political legacy, on women’s life today in the United States, Spain, and Guatemala. She reveals the importance of women’s economic rights and demonstrates how it affects everybody.

It’s not about acquisition, it’s about financial independence, which means that you then become the one to choose your life path”.

Then she elaborates on how poverty affects the gender gap in different countries and informs on the statistics of Guatemala by the International Monetary Fund, describing productivity and wealth. Jayme Lemke concludes presenting her perspective and proposal for furthering the right of women around the world.


Economist and Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center