Peggy Antrobus

I completed my doctorate at CIE after retirement. In the preceding decades my work in the Caribbean and my involvement in a network of feminist, activist researchers from the economic South promoting Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) had pointed me to questions I wanted my research to answer: What impact was the policy framework of the Washington Consensus having on poor women in the economic South and to what extent had programs and projects at the micro level of women’s daily lives served to mitigate the effects of this policy framework?


Retirement, having released me from the responsibilities of fundraising, program management and international meetings, took me in new directions. I taught courses in Canada, first at OISE, University of Toronto (1998), then Menno Simons College at the University of Winnipeg (2005) and finally at York University (2007).  So enjoyable was the experience in 2005 that I decided that if I were younger I would switch careers and become an academic!  Two years later, at York, I decided that I’d had enough of the pressure of staying one step ahead of my students and marking scripts!


In 2000, I was invited by the editor of Zed Books to write a book on the transnational women’s movement for a Series of “New Issues for a new generation of activists.”  They wanted it to be authored by a feminist from the South who had been involved in the emergence of the movement.  I was so excited about the inclusion of such a title among others like “Trade”, “Water”, “Food Security”, “Globalization” and “A New American Century?” that I agreed immediately.  Only later did I realize how unprepared I was for such a task: I had never written a book!  And what did I actually know about the topic!! But it was the events of 9/11 that finally motivated me: there must be something that feminists could say about the events, and the response…  In any event I kept on writing, finally publishing the book "The Global Women's Movement" in 2004.


In 2020 I was involved in conceptualizing and teaching an online course on feminist political economy and ecology - “Society, Economy and Ecology (SEE) in the Caribbean: How do we organize to live?” for social justice activists.  I spent nearly 2 years designing it because I wanted to ensure that a particular group of Caribbean feminist scholar-activists were involved as Moderators.  The occurrence of COVID-19 at the moment the curriculum focused on environmental issues enabled participants to understand more clearly linkages between the pandemic and a policy framework that privileged economic growth over human wellbeing and ecological degradation.


Since the end of the course in May 2020 I’ve been involved in numerous conversations on ‘Zoom’ developing projects that speak to how we (feminist activists) might respond to the unanticipated opportunities opening up, in the wake of a pandemic that has destroyed our economies, for reimagining and rethinking Caribbean development toward a more equitable and sustainable model.


Examples of my current focus are: a DAWN project analyzing Policy Responses to COVID-19 (for signs of shifts toward equity and sustainability); an initiative to use a Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) to engage Barbadians in reimagining and rethinking our economy; and finding ways of highlighting how the ‘maternal Gift Economy’ and the Care Economy underpin the way Caribbean people survive and thrive and how these practices can be supported rather than continue to be exploited by policy choices.


The process of getting older is one of gradually letting go of the things and events that once seemed of overwhelming importance.  I have a strong awareness of the significance of the life cycle in women’s lives.  Over the years I’ve tried to understand where I was in my own, and redefine my role accordingly. [2-21]




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