The Gender Division of Labour in Ethiopian Agriculture: A Study of Time Allocation among People in Private and Co-operative Farms in Two Villages

"In this study, different but complementary approaches were employed to investigate three types of variations (inter-regional, intra-household, and inter-farm organization) in the household time allocation and access to resources with a view to making visible the relative contributions of women to planners and to development agencies, and to shed some light on the problems of applying existing theories and concepts to the conditions of peasant households. The highlights of the findings of this study can be summarized as follows. Considerable variations in the gender division of labour have existed between the two case study areas and between the private and socialist sectors of the rural economy. In the Ethiopian context, existing theories have limited relevance to the peasant households. The gender division of labour in both of the case study areas was somewhat different from what is commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Women's and children's contributions to agricultural production and to the survival of the household must be greater than what is given in official statistics. Time required for housework was downward rigid suggesting an additional constraint to the programmes of mobilising women's labour for directly productive activities. The co-operativization programme had varying effects on women's labour; it has given rise to both underutilization and exploitation of women's, labour depending upon location-specific mode of its implementation. Some degree of inequality has exited in respect of access to resources and decision-making by men and women in the study areas. Children's labour has been found to be substitutable for and complementary to women's labour thus suggesting possibilities of women having pronatalist incentives within the rural household. Similarly, women's and children's labour has been found to be substitutable for and complementary to men's activities while men's labour is little involved in housework suggesting rigidity in factor (time) substitution within the household. The findings of this study, therefore, must have some relevance for the design of national income accounting systems and for rural development projects as well as for theories explaining the gender division of labour in peasant agriculture."