By drawing on feminist legal theory, feminist economics and feminist political economy, Dr Cseres shows how feminist approaches probe the alleged “neutrality” and “objectivity” of competition law and unpack the gendered nature (and impact) of its underlying concepts and enforcement practices.
She argues that by adopting a feminism-grounded analytical lens competition law could not only be more gender inclusive but also make an opening to other types of inclusion.
Despite increasing attention from academics and policymakers, discussions often focus on adding gender to the analytical framework rather than exploring how legal rules and institutions embed gender divisions in society.
Gender is a social construct, and is structurally embedded in society and intertwined with gendered policies, laws, institutions, and other social practices.Kati Cseres
Importantly, feminists take a contextualized lens and draw attention to the complexity of the economy, economic activities and the embeddedness of markets in broader social, economic and political contexts.
Feminist approaches go beyond adding gender to the analysis and investigate the deeper layers of legal rules, economic models and enforcement practices that entrench gendered power structures, dynamics, and institutional arrangements and (re)produce various forms of inequalities.
At its roots, feminism is about equal rights and at its core, it is about redistributing power.Kati Cseres
The paper proposes ways to implement a gender lens in competition law, from the goal of consumer welfare, the agency of consumers to priority setting. Its most direct implementation can take place through investigating the identity of consumers and what relevance the preferences, choices and behaviour of consumers fulfil in competition law. The high level of interest in the paper hopefully reflects the increasing awareness and need for a feminist approach to competition law.