Kansas professor speaks about women and capitalism


Ann Cudd, University of Kansas distinguished professor of philosophy

Ann Cudd a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Kansas (KU), explored in a lecture at Radford University March 30 the pros and cons of capitalism and its overall influences on the lives of women around the world.

The professor spoke at the university as part of the College of Business and Economics (COBE) Global Capitalism Lecture Series, sponsored by BB&T.

"Capitalism is good for women because it tends to destroy or fundamentally transform our traditional culture," Cudd said. "It expands opportunities for women outside the home, and that gives women more power."

In her lecture, Cudd said arguments can be made for capitalism playing a negative role in the lives of women. "Capitalism does inevitably lead to inequality, "she said, citing the wage gap between men and women as evidence. She also spoke of gender segregation in the workforce and a persistent global oppression of women as critiques of capitalism.

However, Cudd said, "It’s hard for me to see that as a result of capitalism. In fact, you can argue that capitalism fights against the global oppression of women."

Cudd argued that despite these problems, capitalism is good for women "because it promotes economic development, which especially helps women," she said.

The professor said capitalism also promotes social and technical innovation and it opposes the "kind of oppression that happens in traditional societies where women are oppressed because of their gender or there are hierarchies of casts still existing."

Cudd went on to conclude that capitalism "fits nicely along with and reinforces the ideology of individual rights and is disrupts gender ideology. It promotes an idea of mutual advantage and, finally, it promotes science as a path to technical innovation."

In addition to the lecture, Cudd spent time touring the RU campus and meeting with faculty, students and the COBE Advisory Council. "I’m getting a really good impression of Radford," she said.

At the University of Kansas, Cudd has taught in the Department of Philosophy and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. She was director of the program from 2001 to 2008. Cudd was appointed associate dean of humanities in the college in 2008.

The professor has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Hall Center for the Humanities, and she was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008. Cudd has served as the president of the Society for Analytical Feminism and as the program chair for the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association.

In 2001, Cudd was awarded a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. In 2007 her book "Analyzing Oppression" was awarded the Byron Caldwell Smith Award.

The Global Capitalism Distinguished Speaker Series is an ongoing collaboration between BB&T and the Radford University College of Business and Economics to stimulate thought and discussion about capitalism, the tenets of free enterprise and the best practices of successful organizations.

Cudd joined a distinguished group of previous speakers who have participated in the BB&T-COBE series: Russell S. Sobel, visiting scholar in entrepreneurship in the School of Business Administration at The Citadel; Christopher Coyne, director of graduate studies of the Department of Economics at George Mason University; Hamid Ghanadan, founder and president of the Linus Group; Mary Rose Carosia and Theresa Werner of S&P Capital IQ; Kevin Daley, a past vice president at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and founder of Communispond; former BB&T Chair and Chief Executive Officer John Allison; Jason Bingham, vice president, Central Territory of North America, for Ingersoll Rand; and Keith Shields, senior statistician and analytic development lead for Marketing Associates in Detroit.

Apr 8, 2015