Carrying the Man’s Burden : A study on married, self-employed women’s perceptions and experiences of reproductive and productive labor in Kampala, Uganda

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: Work and its effect on women’s empowerment and gender equality has been a long, on-going debate since the middle of the 20th century – not at least in development contexts, where women have been recognized to play a crucial role. The discussion has moved from only emphasizing women’s participation in the labor market, to also stress the need to recognize and value the unpaid, domestic work that women perform every day. Many feminist scholars have witnessed how the neglecting of housework and childcare has left women with a double burden, since men’s responsibility in the family and household has been rather stagnant. Therefore, by interviewing 17 married, self-employed women in Kampala, Uganda, this study explores women’s reasons and experiences of organizing reproductive and productive labor, and their solutions for balancing the two working domains. Many scholars draw upon norms, attitudes and traditions, when explaining the gendered division of labor. This study shall argue too that it is indeed gender stereotypical perceptions that maintain the gendered patterns of reproductive labor. However, the results also point to a material, income-related dimension of gender equality – in a context where income is often a determinant of the woman’s workload within the household.

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