Stolenwealth: Examining the expropriation of First Nations women’s unpaid care

Stolenwealth: Examining the expropriation of First Nations women’s unpaid care
Photo by Ondrej Machart on Unsplash

This article examines the intersections between coloniality and gender in the generation and maintenance of Australian wealth. Settler colonialism is ongoing in Australia and is intricately linked to wealth accumulation –where First Nations people’s labour, land and lives have been, and continue to be, expropriated. Whilst feminist scholars have long shown how the capitalist economy free rides on unpaid care work, understandings of care have centred around colonial and settler notions of care which can overlook First Nations meanings and practices of care such as those intricately linked to looking after country, and are at the forefront of struggles and endurance against settler colonialism, including the unpaid work of healing settler induced trauma and violence. Through examining these areas of unpaid care, and drawing on Indigenous, racial capitalism, and settler colonial literature, the article outlines contemporary processes of expropriation of First Nations women’s unpaid care, in the making and maintenance of Australian wealth.

Dr Elise Klein (OAM) is a writer, researcher and Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Crawford School at the Australian National University. Her research is situated in the intersections (and cracks) of development, social policy, de(coloniality) and care. Dr Klein’s two sole authored research books include Developing Minds: Psychology, Neoliberalism, Power (Routledge), and Reading Amartya Sen’s Inequality Re-examined Study Book (Mouseion/ Routledge). Dr Klein has also two co-edited collections; Postdevelopment in Practice: Alternatives, Economies, Ontologies (Routledge) with Carlos Eduardo Morreo, and Implementing a Basic Income in Australia: Pathways Forward (Palgrave). Klein’s research has featured in leading news outlets including The Guardian, The New York Times, ABC, The Australian and SMH. This follows her work being eagerly taken up by publications such as The Conversation, The Guardian, ABC, Overland and The Canberra Times. Klein is called upon by members of Federal Parliament for policy advice and is often asked to give evidence for Parliamentary Senate inquiries. Dr Klein has held various roles including working on the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Development and the Human Rights Committee within the United Nations General Assembly. She holds a Dphil in International Development from the University of Oxford, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and the Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research both in 2019. She is the co-director of the Australian Basic Income Lab.

Date & time

Mon 09 Oct 2023, 11am–12.30pm


Room 4.69, RSSS Building


Elise Klein


Matt Withers


Updated:  29 September 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications