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«Juanwen Yuan Thesis committee Thesis supervisor Prof. dr. A. Niehof Professor of Sociology of Consumers and Households Wageningen University Thesis ...»

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(Agarwal, 1994a; 1994b; 1997; 2001). “Notions of gender […] class, caste, ethnicity and age are integral to understanding the social relations and decision-making processes concerning access to, and use and management of natural resources” (Vernooy, 2005). Francis (2000) notes that gender relations can also be shaped by legal changes in rights to productive resources. Women’s economic situation can influence women’s status as well. He also states that having one’s own income makes women strong. Meanwhile, women’s organizations can also empower women in accessing resources (Agarwal, 1994a). But women’s exercise of power is often regarded as illegitimate (Rosaldo and Lamphere, 1974). “Intra-household inequality of consumption between men and women is likely to be of greater significance than inter-household inequality based on the sex of the household head” (Ellis 2000: 146).

In this research, I will focus on gender in the household division of labour, land use, agricultural production, and migration.

Gender and land Women and men can access, control and use land differently. Men usually can easily access and control land. Francis (2000: 85) has conducted research in central Kenya and states that “because men have been increasingly conceptualized as the owners of land, they can successfully lay claim to deciding its use and to the income derived from it. Women’s labour input alone is not enough to give them enforceable claims to crop income, because their husbands can claim that the land is their property. State policy has reinforced these trends, with marketing boards directing payments to land owners.” He also describes how land ownership rights assigned to male household heads has marginalized women’s usufruct rights to land. But it is also possible, as Roquas (2002) indicates that ownership not necessarily implies control.

While land tenure security can influence investment in farming, women in general have less land security than men. Verma (2001) reports that women’s investments in farming are related to their ability to maintain long-term security in land tenure. Land tenure is also related to age, life cycle, class, and marital status.

Verma (2001) has found that women’s labour burden in on-farm and off-farm work, and their ability to control their labour and the fruits of their labour, are the key factors in their ability to invest in soil management and farming practices.

Gender and the division of labour A household has its own division of labour. Some tasks are undertaken by both sexes, but other tasks are rigidly assigned to either men or women, based on culture and the socialization process. Niehof and Price (2001: 21) state that “while men and women in households typically work together toward the well-being of household members, they are commonly engaged in different activities. They have different tasks and thus allocate their time differently.” Sachs (1996) notes that women are more likely to do the work related to food processing and preparation, while men are involved in labour-intensive activities, such as activities and skills that demand greater physical power. Moore (1988:126) observes that “the sexual

38 Chapter 3

division of labour in the ‘home’ is related in complex and multifarious ways to the sexual division of labour in the workplace and in society at large.” The gendered division of labour is a very complex issue. It varies by class, ethnicity, household’s life course, marital status, the relationships of household members, and in agriculture by crop and by locality (Sachs, 1996; Verma, 2001).

The household division of labour is also related to resource availability. For Central America, Roquas (2002) has reported that the division of household labour is primarily related to what is produced and the availability and quality of land, the quantity of agricultural production, the number of farm household members, the season, the presence of small children, the relationship between husband and wife, or the number of girls and boys. For poor Sri Lankan households, the labour of women is crucial in producing a household’s own food (Schrijvers, 1984). In addition, Agarwal (1994a) states that the gendered division of labour within the household influences women’s involvement in decision-making in community activities in India.

Usually, men are more powerful in making decisions about labour allocation, but in some cases, women have bargaining power as well. Francis (2000) has found that African women have some potential to bargain with their husbands over labour. The gendered division of labour is changing. In the past, women and men had clearly separate tasks, but now the responsibilities are more shared (Kertzer, 1991).

Gender and livelihood Many livelihood diversification strategies are gender-related (Hussein and Nelson, 1998; Niehof, 2004). Francis (2000) states that households with different livelihood bases show different kinds of relations between men and women. Francis (2000) has observed that when African farming income decreases, a household’s livelihood becomes more dependent on men’s ability to earn income through wage labour, which leads the household becoming more unified under male authority.

In Bangladesh, Naved (2003) has found that women usually use income from selling fish for investment or emergency purposes.





Male migrants often have doubts about their wives’ abilities and think they are not good at managing the farm without them (Francis, 2000), but according to Kelly (2002), women are more committed than men to the survival of the farm.

Women try to find different ways to pursue livelihood diversification, even though they have less access to land, the labour market, education, and other resources (Schrijvers, 1984). Ali (2005) has found that women in present-day Bangladesh are more mobile and have more opportunities to get information, which helps them to develop new livelihood strategies.

Gender relations influence the sustainability of livelihoods. In Shiva’s (1997) view, that the partnership between women and nature can influence the sustainability of sustenance. Mtshali (2002) concludes that the gendered division of labour has an impact on rural food security because, while women are responsible for reproductive tasks, men earning cash do not necessarily use it to ensure the household’s food security.

39Literature review and conceptual framework

Gender and agricultural production and technology According to Ellis (2000), women’s roles in agriculture present a heterogeneous picture, depending on ethnicity, type of farming system, and sources of income.

The roles also change from time to time. At the same time, men and women have different roles and different tasks in agricultural production. Their agricultural knowledge is not the same, either. Now that male migration brings about a feminization of agriculture, more women become technology users. Men and women also use technologies differently. According to Niehof (2004), technology interventions will often impact the livelihood activities of either men or women, which subsequently has implications for the livelihood system of the household as a whole. Sachs (1996) indicates that poor women may not benefit from the extended technologies when these require resources that are not easily accessible for them. Vernooy (2005) states that technologies are value-laden and that women and men are involved and affected differently. Extension workers only rarely apply a gender perspective to their work. Male extension officers do not often visit female farmers, due to cultural and other reasons. Mtshali (2002) observes that male extension officers are not trained to work with rural households and to communicate information according to different gender roles. Sachs (1996) has found that rural women are focusing on garden species, but that development planners tend to overlook women’s special needs. Male household heads are targeted because they are considered more knowledgeable. Female-headed households are often unable to engage in pilot experiments because the female household heads are overloaded with farming activities and domestic work (Song 1998).

3.4 Social differentiation and social change Social differentiation refers to the different roles and tasks of people in society.

Social differentiation and social stratification are not the same, but they are related to each other. “Social differentiation usually refers to (1) the situation that exists in every social unit, large or small, by virtue of the fact that people with different characteristics perform different tasks and occupy different roles, and (2) the fact that these tasks and roles are closely interrelated in several ways” (Eisenstadt, 1971: 4-5). Eisenstadt (1971:10) states that “social stratification is the social order that is most closely related to (1) a differential evaluation of roles; (2) the existence – especially in large social systems – of categories, or social divisions, of roles, and (3) the existence of a hierarchy or hierarchies of role categories.” Kohn (1990:31) defines a stratified system as a "hierarchical ordering of positions in terms of power, privilege and prestige". Since different roles and activities are never equally important to any real society, social stratification exists in any system (Barber, 1957;

Grusky, 2001). More qualified people always occupy the more important positions and inequality always allows the more qualified people to move upwards.

Capital goods and high income relate to power; the ownership of capital goods and income contributes to power and prestige (Kingsley, 2001). Social stratification produces social inequality, which influences social participation.

According to Dimaggio (2001: 542), “social inequality shapes important aspects of lifestyle, cognition, social membership, and participation, but [that] these

40 Chapter 3

differences in turn reinforce patterns of material advantage and disadvantage.” Social differentiation can take on different forms among rural households. Blantje (1986) has reported that consistent differences were found among farmers with respect to household size, the control over labour, cattle ownership, the level of agricultural technology, and productivity levels in Tanzania. In Sierra Leone (Beoku-Bettts, 1991), socio-economic and historical processes have shaped household differences and the conjugal roles in the internal household economy. In this research, I will investigate the consequences of the implementation of the Household Responsibility System for social and economic stratification among rural households.

Social change refers to multidimensional and continuous processes of change in societies. It includes changes in social structure and changes of attitudes or beliefs (Ginsberg, 1958). Social change may give rise to inequality and tensions that may motivate some people to try to restore dominancy (Moland, 1996). In this study, structural and normative changes at household level with regard to family relationships, gender roles and division of labour at household level as a consequence of the implementation of the HRS and migration, are the dimensions of social change investigated. At community level, social change is more specifically interpreted as changes in social and economic differentiation in the study area since the HRS was implemented.

3.5 The cohort approach This study will have a longitudinal part (life histories) and a cross-sectional part (a household survey). I will use a cohort analysis to integrate both parts. Both qualitative and quantitative methods have been used for data collection and analysis. Their joint application optimizes both reliability and validity (Angrosino, 2002).

3.5.1 Cohort analysis Ryder (1965: 845) has defined the cohort as “the aggregate of individuals (within some population definition) who experienced the same event within the same time interval”. Since the effects of the introduction of the Household Responsibility System (HRS) – which occurred in the research area in 1980 – constitute the key theme in this study, in this research the moment of household formation was used as the event commonly experienced by the members of the same cohort during the

same time interval. The cohorts distinguished are the following:

• The 1970s cohort (Cohort 1): these households formed their own, independent unit during 1970-1980 and have experienced the collective era and the HRS era.

• The 1980s cohort (Cohort 2): these households formed their own, independent unit during 1980-1990 and have experienced the start of the HRS.

• The 1990s cohort (Cohort 3): these households formed their own, independent unit during 1990-2000 and have only experienced the HRS era.

• The 2000s cohort (Cohort 4): these households formed their own, independent unit from 2000 to the present and have only experienced the HRS era.

41Literature review and conceptual framework

3.5.2 Temporal perspective A longitudinal approach or temporal perspective is necessary for the documentation of social change (Ali, 2005), and when the researcher’s chief interest is to uncover the dynamics of a process (Pennartz and Niehof, 1999). Within a temporal perspective, there are different kinds of time. Pennartz and Niehof (1999) distinguish historical time, daily time, individual time, and household time or family time.

Historical time Households respond to historical events, including policy changes, and adapt their livelihood strategies accordingly. In this study, historical time provides the temporal context within which the processes are studied. The historical period under study runs from 1970 to the present.

Daily time Daily time refers to time allocation and time routines on a daily basis in livelihood and domestic activities. Gender is important in daily time because, every day, men and women live according to a different time allocation.

Individual time “Individual time is referred to as being made up of the milestones in the life course and is progressive in nature” (Ali, 2005: 67). Individual time influences daily time.

Older people usually stay at home to take care of the field and the children, while younger people may spend more time earning cash through migration work.



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