Valeria Esquivel

BOARD MEMBER, 2022-2025

International Labour Office
Geneva, Switzerland

Valeria Esquivel is Employment Policies and Gender Specialist at the International Labour Office, based in Geneva, where she coordinates the Gender in Employment Group in the EMPLAB Branch of the Employment Policy Department. Before joining the UN in 2014, Valeria developed a long academic career as feminist economist, publishing extensively on labour, macroeconomic and social policies. She has co-edited three Gender & Development issues, the first devoted to the Sustainable Development Goals (Vol. 24, No. 1, 2016), the second to Beijing +25 (Vol.28, No. 2, 2020) and the coming one on A Gender-Responsive Recovery (Vol.30, No.1-2, 2022). Her publications on care policies and care workers include the co-authored reports Innovations in Care: New Concepts, New Actors, New Policies (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2017) and Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work (ILO, 2018). Her latest research focuses on the intersections of gender, employment and macroeconomics, studying the gender employment impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim at proposing and supporting the implementation of gender-responsive employment policies. 

Valeria is a member of the Gender and Macroeconomics Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (, and the editor of the collective volume La Economía Feminista desde América Latina: Una hoja de ruta sobre los debates actuales en la región (GEM LAC/ ONU Mujeres, Santo Domingo, 2012). She is currently a member of the Board of IAFFE, chairing the Membership Committee; is Associate Editor for Feminist Economics and is member of the Editorial Advisory Group of Gender & Development. She graduated with honours from Universidad de Buenos Aires and earned an MSc and a PhD in economics from the University of London.

VISION FOR IAFFE: None of us could know what awaited round the corner when we were candidates for the 2019 IAFFE elections drafting a Vision for IAFFE. Our lives, those of our loved ones and the world at large would be turned upside down shortly after by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Uncertainty remains, and what it was hoped would be a vigorous (and inclusive and green) world recovery is now threatened – when it did not even reach most of Southern economies, still crippled by foreign debt and unemployment.

IAFFE as an organization and feminist economists as a collective were able to turn these challenges into opportunities. Our long-standing views on care, paid and unpaid, were suddenly understood and even became obvious! Progressive proposals on feminist macroeconomic and social policies were put forward and found governments ready to engage. As an organization, we cancelled one Annual Conference but managed to put together a fine online one that welcomed Southern scholars and new members in big numbers. Important conversations took place with Latin American scholars thanks to simultaneous translation. Budget permitting, we have understood simultaneous translation fosters inclusiveness and should be kept in the future.  

Being a feminist economist has never been easy and is becoming harder in some contexts. Many of us find in IAFFE the support we need not to feel isolated in our professional lives, to bounce ideas with like-minded colleagues, and to learn from different perspectives. A new generation of feminist economists is reinvigorating our Association and supporting them is the way to go – as others have supported us in the past. Several initiatives (online events, social media presence, the mentoring program, participatory membership meetings) have strengthened our outreach and enriched our exchanges, and I am proud IAFFE has emerged stronger as a result.

What lies ahead is still challenging, though. We need to keep working to retain members and to cater for their different needs. We need to keep participation channels open throughout the year and guarantee a broad membership presence in the Annual Conferences – and do all this in perhaps not so auspicious times. I would like to keep on working as a Board member to make IAFFE as inclusive, open, vibrant and supportive as possible, reflection of a strong feminist economics scholarship, policy engagement and activism.

-- July 2022.