Basic Income: The Potential for Gendered Empowerment?

The African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a special public lecture titled Basic income: The potential for gendered empowerment? by Professor Alison Koslowski (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh).

Basic income is likely to gain momentum as the next social welfare trend to sweep over the world with ideas of how to improve the fairness and efficiency of distributing money. Other earlier movements with similar ambitions to transform societies, ranging across the political spectrum from socialism to neo-liberalism, have led to very different consequences for strata of citizens, but have in common that they have de-prioritised gender equality in favour of other interests. Advocates of basic income suggest that in addition to pragmatic gains, such as a more efficient state administration, primarily a basic income will empower citizens, leading to the potential for greater human flourishing. The question is whether this empowerment will be gendered and if so, how? So far, the basic income debate addresses gender only in so far as it would raise the income of the poorest, of whom a larger proportion are women. However, it is less clear how it might contribute to a transformation of gendered behaviour, making possible divergent shapes of life where binary and set notions of gender are not a restriction.  The lecture discusses the idea of basic income from a perspective of gender equality in the Swedish context, and from this draw wider conclusions about how those structures above and beyond a basic income, such as childcare services and parental leave, might be necessary to support progress towards gender equality.


Alison Koslowski is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh.

Alison’s research is focused on gender equality. She is currently a partner on an EU-FP7 funded collaborative project “Families and Societies – Changing Families and Sustainable Societies” ( She very much enjoys working in inter-disciplinary teams. Other recent projects have been funded by the ESRC and the by Scottish Government. She is a member of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research and is co-editor of their annual international review.

Alison has a long-standing interest in social research methods and data collection techniques and enjoys working both with big data sets employing quantitative methods of analysis and also with qualitative data, in particular, interview data. As the Director of the Edinburgh Q-Step Centre, which is a quantitative methods training centre she has excellent links with colleagues at the National Centre for Research Methods, the Administrative Data Research Centre Scotland and the Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN).

Date: Thursday 23 August 2018

Time: 12.30 -13.30

Venue: ACMS Seminar Room 2163, South East Wing, Second Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, University of the Witwatersrand East Campus