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'Women can do what men can do': the causes and consequences of flexibility in gender divisions of labour in Kitwe, Zambia

Evans, Alice (2014) 'Women can do what men can do': the causes and consequences of flexibility in gender divisions of labour in Kitwe, Zambia. Journal of Southern African Studies, 40 (5). pp. 981-998. ISSN 0305-7070

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Abstract

Economic insecurity has catalysed growing flexibility in gender divisions of labour in Kitwe, Zambia. People's resulting exposure to, as well as collective reflection about, a critical mass of women performing work that was previously presumed to be beyond their capabilities, and valorised because of its association with masculinity, appears to erode gender stereotypes relating to competence and status. It is this weakening of gender beliefs, rather than women's increased access to resources per se, that appears to have directly undermined gender-status inequalities. This article's portrayal of growing gender egalitarianism contrasts with (though does not dispute the empirical claims of) earlier accounts of economic crisis in Zambia, which emphasised women's increased burdens. Some domains, such as unpaid care work, continue to be marked by persistent inequalities; however, drawing on ethnographic research (comprising life history narratives, group interviews and observation), it is argued that this is not necessarily an indicator of women's low status generally.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjss20/current
Additional Information: ©2014 The Author.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Identification Number: 10.1080/03057070.2014.946214
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2014 14:32
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2015 08:18
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/59192

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