What do we mean by ‘Women’s crops’? Commercialisation, gender and the power to name
This article in the Journal of International Development gives a nuanced analysis of changing gender roles in the commercialization of “women’s crops”. The authors explore the relationship between commercialization and gender for groundnuts in Eastern Province, Zambia, using a mixed methods approach. Women saw themselves as having greater control over groundnuts than other crops, and both sexes saw groundnuts as controlled by women. Machine shelling and higher sales did not reduce women’s perceived level of control over groundnuts. On the other hand, women welcomed greater male participation in machine shelling because it reduced the drudgery of shelling by hand, and were willing to trade some control in exchange for the male labor required to capture the full benefits from commercialization. The authors argue that this suggests the need to re-think the narrative of commercialization and gender as a zero sum game in favor of a cooperative-conflict model where bargaining between women and men can result in higher incomes for them both.