Women’s economic empowerment? Gendered strategies and institutions in Oke Arin market, Lagos

Nwankwo, Nkechi (2017) Women’s economic empowerment? Gendered strategies and institutions in Oke Arin market, Lagos. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the importance of institutions in the promotion of economic growth and gender equality. Several scholars (Boserup, 1970; Baltiwala, 2007; Kabeer 2012) also agree on the need to engage with social institutions at various levels to achieve women’s economic empowerment. Ironically, institutions in the Lagos context tend to undermine women’s economic empowerment through their opaque and devious governance processes, and contribute to the widespread social mistrust which reduces the appetite for collective action. Further, contrary to some literature that presents the Lagos market associations as cohesive and protective (Little, 1972; Mba, 1982; Ikioda, 2011), this study suggests a despotic and extortionist market governance within which the majority of women traders have no voice.
The study examines how Lagos women traders (in Oke Arin market) negotiate the complexities of their relationships with institutions at kin, market, and state levels. The study explores the central paradox that while cultural norms and social reality in Lagos demand that women be economically independent and engaged in family provisioning (Sudarkasa, 1973; Mann, 1991; Denzer, 1994), various institutions constrain women’s ability to meet their expected gender roles. Based on a sample of 80 Lagos (Yoruba) women traders, the study leveraged a combination of survey, in-depth interviews, observation and secondary data. Concepts of power and empowerment are used to examine the gendered strategies for survival and accumulation. Among the key findings are that kin relationships are critical to women’s entry into, and success in, trading and that the patterns of maternal influence and inheritance suggest an increasing trend towards matrifocality. Additionally, in response to spatial politics and the dominating market and government institutions, women traders devise resistance strategies, sometimes pushing the boundaries of legality. But in the absence of collective action, they remain unable to achieve transformative change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2018 11:01
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2018 11:01
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/66836

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