SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Marriage, motherhood and masculinity in the global economy: an emerging crisis in social reproduction?

Professor Naila Kabeer, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Date: 12 January 2012Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 January 2012Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4421

Type of Event: Seminar

The different processes associated with globalisation have led to rising rates of paid work by women, often in contexts where male employment is stagnant or declining. This paper explores how women and men are dealing with this feminisation of labour markets in the face of the widespread prevalence of male breadwinner ideologies and the apparent threat to male authority represented by women’s earnings. Responses have varied across the world but there appears to be a remarkable resistance to changes in the domestic division of unpaid work within the household and a continuing failure on the part of policy-makers to provide support for women’s care responsibilities, despite the growing importance of their bread-wining roles. Many of the services previously provided on an unpaid basis are being transferred to the paid economy but most working women continue to bear a disproportionate burden of domestic responsibility. There is evidence that women may be using their newly acquired earning power to challenge the injustice of the double work burden in ways that pose a challenge to long-term processes of social reproduction.


Naila Kabeer is Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is the author of Reversed realities: gender hierarchies in development thought; The power to choose: Bangladeshi women and labour market decisions in London and Dhaka; Gender and social protection in the informal economy and Money with a mission: micro-finance and poverty reduction. She has worked as a Senior Research Fellow in DFID and Senior Visiting Scholar for IDRC, South Asia Regional office. Apart from her academic work, she has been involved in a training and technical advisory capacity for a number of donors, and multilateral agencies including the World Bank, SIDA, NORAD, UNICEF, DANIDA, UNDP and with various national and international NGOs, including OXFAM, Action Aid, PRADAN, Plan International, and Women for Women International. She is on the Editorial Committee of Feminist Economics, Development and Change and Gender and Development.

Organiser: Bloomsbury Gender Network hosted by the SOAS Centre for Gender Studies

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