Helen Hester & Nick Srnicek

March 8 2021

Since its foundation in 2016, Autonomy has made it a priority to explore how work is gendered and formulate ideas to reduce fundamental inequalities that deny freedom to many. With the launch of the Feminist Futures Programme (FFP), we will be taking this work to the next level. The project – led by feminist researcher and Autonomy advisory board member Professor Helen Hester – will be a platform for some of the best emerging research on gender and the future of work. It has three broad aims:


Via its digital platform, the FFP will showcase ideas from both new and established feminist voices. With detailed critical attention to the meaning of work, and to the gender politics surrounding what counts as work in the first place, it will regularly publish accessible, engaging, and intellectually rigorous research on a variety of relevant topics. These will include feminist economics, social reproduction, post-work politics, speculative futures, technologies and work, working time reduction, mutual aid and community work, and more. We hope that the material disseminated via the programme will enrich policy-facing, activist, and academic discussions alike, and make a contribution to the collective struggle for feminist futures.


The programme will act to bring together researchers from different disciplines and traditions in order to address issues relating to gender and the future of work. Within Autonomy itself, we have economists, feminist theorists, architects, communication strategists, statisticians, philosophers, and more, who will all be contributing to the FFP and its projects over the course of the coming months and years. Not only will we be bringing our in-house expertise together with the diverse voices showcased via the FFP digital platform, but we will also be commissioning and collaborating with external experts on the creation of new research, and forging partnerships with external organisations, from small grassroots organisations to other international think tanks. Our aim is to become a hub for people looking to build a more equitable future, particularly as this relates to ideas around work, economy, and society.


The FFP will offer training materials, media tool kits, and participatory gender audits for groups and organisations who are looking to critically assess and transform their institutional cultures in the name of more equitable working environments. Furthermore, the creation and publication of original research on the topic of gender and work will be crucial to the development of the programme. This will take the form of reports, position pieces, long-read articles, literature reviews, rapid evidence assessments, blog posts, interviews with external experts, and so on. The aim is to help foster the intellectual and conceptual infrastructure required not only to initiate meaningful changes in the UK and elsewhere, but to radically reorient debates about gender, labour, and social organisation toward the construction of a better future for everybody.