Ania Plomien is Assistant Professor in Gender and Social Science at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics. Her professional activities comprise of research, teaching, and policy and public engagements on issues surrounding work and care, labour markets, and socio-economic policies in Central and Eastern Europe and in the EU.
Ania Plomien’s research is anchored in an understanding of gender seeking to illuminate gender relations and how they impact on women’s and men’s lives. Recognising that inequality does not apply to all men and all women uniformly demands attention to other dimensions of identity and power differentials. It has direct policy implications and informs debates on such measures as ‘reconciliation of work and family’, ‘women on boards’, or ‘breaking the glass ceiling’.
These are necessary tools to bring about change. However, they are not sufficient. Redressing multiple inequalities and achieving social justice, demands examination of policies which benefit small and already privileged groups but actually shift the burden of care on the socially disadvantaged, including migrant and ethnic minorities. Currently too narrow of a version of gender equality underpins policies designed to make women’s lives more like men’s (and not vice-versa).
It thus does not challenge the processes that give rise to, legitimise and sustain inequality. Integral to gender-awareness is a critique of the broader social, economic and political frameworks serving specific economic interests and a growth agenda, historically and in the context of the economic crisis. Across the EU the current austerity policies are aimed at recovery, but undermine the ideal of security and prosperity for all, where the economy serves the society (and not vice-versa).
Teaching and public engagement
Communicating these insights through teaching and public engagement is an important element of Ania Plomien’s work. The commitment to a critical understanding of the theory and practice underpinning gender inequalities and the role of the state and policies in their transformation is integral to integral to Ania Plomien’s approach to teaching. This relies on adopting transnational and intersectional outlooks, engaging students in asking questions, interrogating data and employing different analytical lens or levels of analysis.
The collaborative and supportive teaching atmosphere at the Gender Institute, LSE, is crucial to such endeavours. Among the most rewarding was to have established in 2012 together with her colleague Diane Perrons an introductory MSc course ‘Feminist Economics and Policy’ at the LSE– the first of this kind in the UK.
Since 2005 Ania Plomien has been a member of a network of experts on gender and social and employment issues (now ENEGE) providing gendered analysis of these themes to the European Commission. She is an active member of the UK Women’s Budget Group and contributes to the analysis of UK government policies. In 2014 she has organised (with Sumi Madhok) ‘The Presence of Gender”, an event to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the LSE Gender Institute. Her efforts to engage with wider audiences include talks to student societies, media interviews, engagements with parliamentarians and policy-makers, and being a Commissioner on the LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power.