Different Patterns of Female Labour Force Participation in Third World Countries

Master's Thesis, 1993

99 Pages





Table of Contents

List of Tables


Chapter One : The Effects of the Penetration of the Market in Rural Households
A. Introduction
A. l Subsistence Production
A. 2 Commodity Production

Chapter Two : The Peasant Household and Its Transformation
B. Introduction
B. l The 'Classic' Formation and Function of the Household
B. 2 The New Formation of the Household
B. 3 The New Function of the Household

Chapter Three : The Centrality of Women's Labour and the Patriarchal Dissolution - A Paradox
C. Introduction
C. l Evidence of Women's Role Conflict
C. 2 Different Patterns of Female Labour Force
C. 3 Changes in Forms of Production in Peripheral Economies and the Participation of Women
C. 4 Housework and Its Function in Capitalist Societies

Chapter Four : Patriarchal Control and Its Characteristics
D. Introduction
D. l Women as Rural Producers:
A Regional Analysis of Selected Case-Studies

Chapter Five : Ideological Structures and Perpetuating Mechanisms Legitimising Women's Subordination Because of the Paradox - Concluding Remarks
E. Introduction
E. l Cultural Contexts



Attempts to account for the prevalence of women's inferior position in the home or in the labour markets still leave unexplained the persistence of inequalities between the sexes in both domains despite the presence of increasing female labour force participation. The study assesses the importance and extend to which women's life cycle variables shape their economic activity and perpetuate their subordination.

Finally, the analysis suggests that ideological or cultural structures arc the more important correlates of women's economic activity and that life-cycle variables cannot adequately account for the persistence of their low status in the labour force.


I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr. Pandeli Glavanis for his comments, guidance, patience and encouragement at all stages of this research.

Special thanks are due to all my friends who in diverse ways contributed to this study. In particular, I am grateful to Alexander Iskandar who gave of his time to pcrfcctionate the technical part of this dissertation and both to Nilaycan and Su-Chen for their emotional support.


Table C.l Labour Force Participation Rates

Table C.la Activity Rates for Chile

Table C.lb Activity Rates for Ghana

Table C.Ic Activity Rates for Indonesia

Table C.ld Activity Rates for Turkey

Table D.la Distribution of the Active Female Population in Africa

Table D.Ib Distribution of the Active Female Population in Asia

Table D.lc Distribution of the Active Female Population in Latin America 59 Table D.Id Distribution of the Active Female Population in the Middle East



The main purpose of this dissertation is to study the transformations experienced by the rural female labour force in particular Third World Countries/Geographic Regions (i.e., Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East).

The principle premise of this study, therefore, is to analyse changes in the degree of participation of women within the domestic sector, while market activities will be also considered, especially when the analysis is focused on those women performing dual roles.

In analysing trends in the extent of female labour force participation and the nature of the sexual division of labour, both within the labour market and within the household it is essential to test the following hypothesis: -conditioned by their need to combine their domestic and labour market roles, women who enter the labour market tend to choose occupations deemed to be compatible with domestic responsibilities; and that the sex­differentiation of roles within the home imply that women’s participation compared to that of men in the labour force is influenced more by life cycle variables than any other variables.

Specifically, the hypothesis that life cycle variables such as age, marital status and maternal status, which have been assumed to influence women's labour force participation, are too weak to support our assumption.

Consequently, the objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between those factors (i.e., economic, ideological, cultural etc.) which influence the economic activity of females and contribute to their continuous subordination.

However, what should also be considered is the expansion of the world market which implicitly impinged on the life of virtually every human being, and has be accompanied by unprecedented changes in the way work is structured around the world.

The experience of women under the European empires was diverse indeed, but commonly they lost relative to men, and often this was through the imposition of a new, ’western’ gender ideology (Momscn & Townsend, 1987, p.72). Colonial rule, direct or indirect, was carried out through male hierarchies; the new sources of cash, in cash crops or in wage labour or plantations, in mines or in towns were overwhelmingly imposed on or offered to men.

Moreover, the effect of the colonial period was to create a rural structure which had a great deal in common with European feudalism, where large landowners extracted surplus from a peasantry, and were the unit of production and consumption amongst the peasantry was the household. Thus, in rural areas the penetration of capitalist relations has resulted in the differentiation of the peasantry and for poor peasants, the undermining of household production and the impoverishment and the proletarianisation of large sections of the rural populations (Charles, 1993).

This has had a contradictory impact on gender divisions of labour, depending upon the position of individuals and households in the class structure. Rural households are not harmonious, egalitarian social units, but hierarchical structures embodying relations of subordination and domination based on gender and age.

The theoretical premise of chapters One and Two, therefore, despite their length, is that the subordination of women in the rural areas of the Third World has two aspects. First, women are members of households that differ in their access to land, other means of production, and wage incomes (i.e., transition from subsistence to a market economy); and second, that the peasant household transformed its form and functions, implying both alterations in gender divisions and a decrease in patriarchal control over its members.

In Chapter Three we test the hypothesis of the study, and argue that despite the patriarchal dissolution and woman's increasing economic activity, her position within the household or in the market still remains subordinate to that of man's. This entails a theoretical discussion of woman's subordination within the sexual division of labour, extending from preclass hunting-gathering societies to capitalist or Third World societies.

In Chapter Four we illustrate the characteristics of patriarchal control which took a new form as they now incorporated with the peculiar features of colonialism and capitalism, which continue to impinge women's economic activity and therefore generate their subordination.

In the concluding chapter we examine how different ideological mechanisms accompanied by distorting customs legitimise woman's oppression.

The oven use of ideology as a means of instituting compliance is particularly revealing of the connection of between colonisation and the deterioration of personal relations. It also reveals the connection between the economic exploitation of both sexes and the subordination of women and between sexual inequality and other forms of inequality (Ettiene, 1980).

It is what many feminists have argued, that capitalism cannot exist without patriarchal relations: that is, the institutionalised patterns and ideologies of male dominance and control over resources that have empowered men to define the productive and reproductive roles and behaviour of women. Whether or not they are essential, patriarchal relations have become the highly characteristic of the whole modem, urban, industrial world - and of the Third World.


A. Introduction

The next two sections will explore the changes in gender divisions of labour which arc consequent upon colonial expansion and the incorporation of pre-capitalist or non­capitalist societies into a capitalist world economic order. This process has emerged along with the intellectual curiosity of the study of rural transformations and impose questions of how capitalism penetrates and transforms rural structures and what are the consequences of this transformation for both capitalism and the structures that are being transformed by it.

Existing advanced industrial societies (socialist and capitalist) emerged from agrarian societies in most of which patriarchal peasant production based on the household[1] prevailed; women's labour was controlled by men; large landowning strata or classes extracted a surplus from the peasantry; and gender ideologies defining women’s role as purely reproductive predominated (Moore, 1967). In the sixteenth-century England the landowning class saw the commercial opportunities presented by the wool trade and enclosures deprived the peasantry of their livelihood forcing them off the land and into the ranks of the agricultural workforce. This term was termed primitive accumulation by Marx (Marx, 1976a).

The peasantry no longer a peasantry in the strict sense of the term, had to work for wages in order to buy the food they had previously been able to grow themselves and, in this way, a home market was created, a market for goods produced in capitalist agriculture and industry.

In the Third World it was the colonial expansion which paved the way for subsequent capitalist development. This is accounting not only in the agrarian societies but in those based on shifting agriculture and foraging where women enjoy a relatively high degree of autonomy in the labour process, have independent access to productive resources, and production may be neither household based nor controlled by a male head of household.

Nash has defined the process of development in the Third World as a process that displaces rural populations from a given subsistence mode of production (and) that fails to re-integrate people into new forms of employment' (Nash, 1986, p.6). In other words it reinforces the simultaneous destruction of pre-capitalist or non-capitalist modes of production[2] and the integration of societies into the capitalist economy. The basic change that occurs is that, instead of production being adapted to the production of use-values (production for consumption) with some production of commodities for exchange, commodity production becomes generalised. Thus, instead of people's being able to produce enough food and other subsistence articles to meet their own needs through limited exchange, they are forced to meet their subsistence needs through the cash economy. These processes according to Charles were set in train by colonial expansion (Charles, 1993).

From the point of view of the colonising power, the colonies were regarded as both a source of raw materials and a potential market for manufactured goods as the industrialised countries' markets were increasingly saturated with the necessary consumer goods (Ettienne, 1980). The labour force for the extraction of raw materials or the cultivation of crops for export was to be provided by the indigenous population. To encourage their participation they were required to pay taxes which served as a means of both raising revenue and of forcing their participation in the cash economy. To pay the taxes people had to have access to cash, either through selling their labour power or through selling their products. They could not continue to produce and trade in the ways to which they were accustomed.

There are certain measures which the colonial powers adopted in order to obtain control over the indigenous population and which had significant implications for gender divisions. These measures were firstly, the imposition of taxes normally payable by adult men. It was assumed by the colonial powers that men were heads of households and women were dependent upon them; this is why men were taxed rather than women. Secondly, private property in land was introduced. This very often involved giving title to men regardless of the systems of inheritance and patterns of land use which actually obtained. These measures meant that men had to obtain cash to pay taxes either through working for a wage or growing a crop which could be solved; that is a cash crop which could be exponed. Manufactured goods from the colonising power became available, undermining the handicraft production of the indigenous population (Charles, 1993). The disruption of the indigenous mode of production included in these processes gave rise to male control of female labour in societies where it had previously been latent or non­existent, and to new forms of male control over female labour in societies in which it had previously existed. In this way non-capitalist societies were absorbed into the cash economy and the process of the formal subsumption of labour under capital was set in train (Alavi, 1982, p.186). This process did not necessarily imply the destruction of non­capitalist forms of social organisation but simply that these forms were being transformed from within by capitalist production relations.

With land reform, which has occurred in many Third World countries, the penetration of agriculture by capital becomes more rapid. It is no longer impeded by forms of land ownership and tenancy that are non-capitalist in nature, and the differentiation of the peasantry and proletarianisation and pauperisation[3] of a large proportion of the rural population proceeds apace. This process has been accelerated by the introduction of modem technology into agriculture, the most well known example being the Green Revolution technology in India and other pans of Asia. This marks the real subsumption of labour under capital (Alavi, 1982, pp. 186-88).

Moreover, this (rural) transformation, which is going to be more elaborated in section B, brought about stratification within the rural population and a relative surplus population has been created. Also the development of commodity production and a massive rural exodus in search for jobs in urban areas has determinant implications for the sexual division of labour as will be discussed later on.

To conclude, for a complete analysis of both colonial and capital penetration in the rural sector we need to compare the economic system in the process of decline with the emerging system in Third World agriculture, which are, according to Long: subsistence production and commodity or capitalist production (Long, 1977).

A.l Subsistence Production

According to Beneria, subsistence production is an economic system and a way of living per se. Its main characteristics are that it is a self-sufficient system which shows a unity in all economic activities of the peasants and hence lacks any sort of differentiation between the productive and consumptive spheres of their lives. The subjective drive behind the act of production is not to make profit through selling the products in the market but to satisfy the subsistence needs of the family. Because of this underlying subjective drive, which manifests itself as a specific economic mentality, everyone tries to produce in accordance with his/her own needs, which in turn determine the value of production (Beneria, 1985).

From what is being said till now, the subsistence economy is the basic characteristic of a self-sufficient household (a model of a virtually non-existent entity) which reproduces itself fully from what it produces and is thus truly autarkic. But according to other authors, this autarkic model is largely a fantasy (Smith & Wallerstcin, 1992). However, it should not therefore be forgotten that virtually every household produces some of what it requires to reproduce itself, that is produces some subsistence income.

The household may do this by hunting, gathering, or agriculture to obtain food for consumption. Obviously, this kind of household subsistence production is of diminishing significance, since the percentage of the world labour time (however remunerated) in such activities is on the decline. Household self-manufacture seems on the other hand as important a source of income as it ever was, even if the items thus produced are less likely to be the presumed basics (preserved foods, clothing, the house itself) and more likely to be the increasing number of ’do-it-yourself manufactures (in whole, or more often in part) (Smith & Wallcrstein, 1992, p.16). And household subsistence services on the other hand seems to be actually increasing overall, rather than decreasing in labour input. Households not only still for the most part prepare their own food, but they continue to 'maintain' their shelter and clothing. Indeed, they probably spend far more time maintaining their shelter and clothing as the number of appliances available to be tools in these processes increases. The tools do not seem to reduce the labour input in tenus of time- probably the reverse- even if they usually make the labour input require less- muscle power. The mere listing of the multiple forms of income makes it very obvious that real income or real households is normally made up of all these components (Smith & Wallcrstein, 1992, pp. 16-17).

In pre-capitalist subsistence economies, most of work was done within the family unit. The household is the basic unit of production in a peasant economy and develops an integral division of labour based on age, as well as gender. It is the physical locus of both production and reproduction since it is there that human life and vital capacity of work are continuously produced and reproduced. Subsistence production includes work related to pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and education of the children; it includes the work required in the production and transformation of food, clothing, housing and physical and psychical work of sexuality, in sort, women's work (as wives, housewives and mothers) (Sharma, 1984, pp.57-88). Moreover, Engels viewed the production of the means of subsistence and the reproduction of the human beings as two fundamental human/female activities (Engels, 1979, pp.3-55).

Capitalist production brings critical changes to the nature of the household unit. Work is divided into 'public socialised work, and work that remained in the family. The more development takes place, the more work that used to be done in the family is brought into wage labour’ (Sharma, 1984, p.61), and the more that women increasingly are usurped from their public role in production. This does not mean, however, that housework has become unimportant.

It is at this point that it is crucial to mention the mistaken position within the Marxist tradition in terms of 'use values as such lies outside the sphere of political economy' (Marx, 1911, p.19). The negative neglect of non-commoditised sectors - such as subsistence production and the household economy - has been a common feature until recently. Moreover, the central argument implied here and continued as follows (in the commodity production sub-section) is that any conceptualisation of economic activity should include the production of use-values as well as exchange values, and that active labour should be defined in relation to its contribution to the production of goods and services for the satisfaction of human needs (Benaria, 1985). Whether this production is channelled through the market and whether it contributes directly to the accumulation process are questions that can be taken up at a different level of analysis, and should not bias our understanding of what constitutes economic activity. That is, the argument is far from implying that there is no difference between commodity and subsistence production. as will be seen below but that the latter is also part of the realm of economics, and must be analysed and valued accordingly (Radcliffe, 1993).

A.2 Commodity Production

Writers on commoditisation[4] (i.e., Friedman, 1980, Long, 1984) have focused upon the process of deepening commodity relations within the reproductive cycle of the household. This process is illustrated by the household’s increasing reliance upon transactions conducted through the market for the sale of produce and labour power, and for purchase of necessary consumption goods and renewal of means of production (Bernstein, 1979).

Commoditisation leads to the 'individualisation' of the household as direct reciprocal ties between units are replaced by market relations and households enter into increasing competition in their efforts to increase control over land, labour and other means of production (Friedmann, 1980, pp. 158-84). While the commoditisation approach is a valuable tool for analysing the ways in which households as units of production arc incorporated into the market and subordinated to capital, it contains serious limitations in its ability to reveal the changing roles and circumstances within the domestic unit. In particular, the model fails to give sufficient attention to the persistence of non- commoditised (i.e., reciprocal and co-operative) labour relations, the non-monetised exchange of goods and the continued importance of use-value production (Sage, 1993).

Thus, as argued previously, subsistence production and commodity production should be valued as two interrelated and supplementary processes in the capitalist mode of production and with the gradual penetration of the market into economic life we view a generating shift of production from the domestic to the market sphere.

Subsistence producers measures their product in tenus of use-values; they do not calculate the exchange-value in advance. The conversion of these use-values into exchange-values is outside their control and is unfavourable to them. For example, the wage labour system, as Marx and Engels noted (In Sharma, 1984, pp. 60-1) is sustained by this very socially necessary but private (that is domestic) labour of housewives, mothers, and daughters in childbearing, rearing, cleaning, washing clothes, mending maintenance of property, food preparation, daily health care etc. This constitutes a perpetual cycle of labour necessary to maintain and perpetuate the workforce. In this sense it is an integral part of the economy. The direct consumption of commodities purchased with wages takes place within the household, yet the inputs used for domestic production are not all bought on the market; some, like wood and vegetables, may be gathered by women. These inputs are then transformed into use-values (via food processing, cooking, etc.) by women for consumption in the home. Both types of consumption serve to reproduce the commodity labour power (Beneria and Gita Sen, 1981, p.292).

The same applies to peasants. Even when they cultivate cash-crops, a use-value- oriented way of treating the crops prevails, and it is exactly this attitude which makes this form of agricultural production so profitable (Bennholdt-Thomsen, 1982, p.246).

The producers therefore, within the capitalist mode of production are themselves in charge of the work of producing their own labour and that of their family. Capital docs not assume any responsibility for it. Yet the economic aspect of the family is obscured and it comes to be regarded as 'unproductive' (not participating in wage labour). It is unpaid work which in turn, is the exact definition of surplus-labour (Secombe, 1973). The petty commodity producer because he/she is not part of a pre-capitalist mode of production, they are increasingly forced to sell a part of their product in order to get money to buy basic provisions. This money is entirely spent on acquiring heating oil, medicines, roof tiles, etc., but not on daily food. Equally, peasants who are also wage workers pay for some necessary purchases with their wage but they have also to produce their own supplies for food. The domestic labour of women thus becomes 'unproductive' as well (Sharma, 1984, p.61). The husband’s wage or salary is only spent in buying goods for the family's daily consumption. If the wife's work were to be paid from the wage, the level of the normal wage would be grossly insufficient. As the family increasingly becomes isolated from ’paid, productive, wage labour’[5], women for once more are cut off from men in a drastic new way and this gives new meaning to male supremacy within patriarchy. As Mackintosh emphasises household labour must also be seen in relation to existing cultural norms and values concerning the sexual division of labour, the obligations of marriage, and the expectations of family and kin, illustrated in the following sections (1979, p.83).

To conclude, the gradual penetration of the market into rural economies introduces different degrees of direct contact with commodity production and capital. Yet it does not change the productive and reproductive nature of these activities; what changes is the degree of their integration into the market.



B. Introduction

The tendency to dehistorise household formation and functioning and to treat households as 'natural' units seems to be both persistent and widespread[6] (Harris, 1981). This is for instance, quite apparent in Sahlins’ work which draws upon Chayanov’s theory of peasant household (Chayanov, 1966; Shahlins, 1974). According to Shahlins formulation, economic systems which are not dominant by commodity exchange, such as primitive or peasant economies, are based on a domestic mode of production. The household unit tends towards self-sufficiency and relative autonomy. The primary premise of this model is that intrahouschold relations are based on a different logic and qualitatively differ from interhousehold relations. The former are characterised by pooling of resources and sharing while the latter are based on exchange. For example in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, husband and wife do not pool resources, do not have a common housekeeping or child care fund and may enter into economic transaction which may take the form of commodity exchange (Kandiyoti, 1985).

Such arrangements are alien to most of Asia and the Middle East, where the total control of economic resources is generally vested in the person of a titular male head who may allocate resources from the common fund differentially to household members according to the positions they occupy in terms of sex and age.

The issue of the relationship between economic systems and household is of major interest, but what will concern us here is the specific question of transformation, i.e. the shifts in the basis of the reproduction of the agrarian households. Changes in the conditions of the household's reproduction have direct implications both for the labour deployment of its members and for the sexual division of labour (Kandiyoti, 1985).

Households as income pooling units may be created by the operations of the capitalist world economy and bear a purely formal resemblance to similar structures pre-dating it (Smith & Wallerstein, 1992). Variations in householding practices[7] may be expected both between the various zones of the world economy (i.e., core, semi­peripheral, peripheral) and within them. The vast differentials in the levels of remuneration of labour power in core and peripheral areas are sustained by and find support in corresponding household practices (Townsend and Momscn, 1987).

The low wage areas of the periphery exhibit a lower level of proletarianisation which ensures the lower costs of reproduction since 'part-time' wage labourer households continue to derive some proportion of the income from production for self­provisioning.

However, since the possibility of continued total reliance on subsistence production is undermined- sometimes forcing through alienation of land, forced labour taxation, in other cases through more gradual processes of market integration resulting in the marginalisation of small producers- members of part-time wage labourer households move between different patterns of remuneration of labour (migration, seasonal work, etc.). The division of labour within such households necessarily reflects the way in which these units adapt and undergo changes in relation to new processes of production and exchange over which they generally have little control (Household Research Group, in Family in Turkish Society, 1985, pp.30-31).

Thus, the female farming system in Africa meant that exclusive male recruitment for work in plantations, in mines and public works at below subsistence wages could proceed with women's subsistence production ensuring the support of the family/household, the care of the sick and the aged (Boserup, 1970).

This may result in the break-up of the family unit for extended periods of time and to the prevalence of female headed households. For instance, women in Lesotho may spend an important portion of their lives away from their husbands who work in the gold mines in South Africa, and be solely responsible for rearing their children (Boserup, 1970). However, the fact that they cannot earn a living from the land makes them dependent on their husbands’ wages who in tern have to rely on their family as a sole source of social security in sickness, retirement and old age. On the other hand, in Asia where full familial participation in agricultural tasks prevailed, colonial patterns of labour recruitment affected the entire household where both men and women had to intensify subsistence production and work in the export sector to meet new cash demands (Agarwal, 1986).

These examples drawn from forms of colonial exploitation provide good indications of how economic transformations build upon already existing forms of sexual division of labour, yet at the same time modify them. What is at issue is neither total continuity nor total change but a transformation of the bases of the reproduction of the household sometimes just short of the total jeopardy of such reproduction .

B.l The 'Classic' Formation and Function of the Household

As in all traditional societies in which family/household is the basic economic unit, the extended family was the predominant type in Third World societies, and extended patrilocality and patrilinearity was the norm.

The family or household was an independent and unique institution which met all the physiological, social and psychological needs of individuals and which facilitated the reproduction of the family and society. In carrying out its primary functions, maintained a hierarchical structure which organised the division of labour among its members. In this hierarchical system known as 'patriarchy' (Mies, 1986), individuals assumed specific roles according to their demographic characteristics and different positions within the household. The demographic characteristics which contributed to the differentiation of individuals are sex, age, marital status, fertility and health.

Accordingly, men were superior in status to women, the old to the young, the married to those who were not, the ones who had children to those who did not etc. The kinship system formed by marriage and fertility and the degrees of relationships among its members also played a significant role in determining the position of individuals within the hierarchy (Brydon & Chant. 1989).

The elders who are at the top of the family hierarchy have the key roles in the decision- making mechanisms which control all family functions, primarily production. The other members carry out tasks and take up responsibilities according to their positions and under the control of the family head. In other words, the organisation of family's or household's economic activities as an independent unit is achieved through the unequal intra-familial relations. Those at the top control the labour of other family members.

The pre-capitalist family/household is in harmony with the demographic structure of the society and with the social and economic environment. The major task of elderly family members who are responsible for the domestic enterprise is to maintain 'equilibrium' between the family size and the labour force necessary for production (Caldwell, 1978). In this context, high mortality reinforces the patriarchal system. It helps to strengthen kinship relations and increases the importance attached to marriage and fertility (Özbey, in Family in Turkish Society, 1985). This is justified by the reproduction of males giving women the critical role of being agents of reproduction. Sons will ensure the continuity of the lineage while daughters will be exchanged at a very young age to ensure the reproduction of an other lineage. This exchange may or may not be accompanied by the brideprice (transformation of wealth) but in all cases we can see the appropriation of by the patrilineage of women's production and reproduction (Kandiyoti, 1977). This key reproductive role which together with advancing age constitute the main ingredients of a women's status should not lead us to overlook their productive role and their value as labour.

Women's work in the peasant households thus combines domestic service and 'productive' work: it is often said that peasant woman must bear a 'double burden’ working long hours in the farms and in the craft production and then equally in child­care food preparation, cooking, washing and cleaning for the regeneration of the labour force. Women's workload becomes lighter and her status increases along with her seniority, when she is involved in the more 'managerial' aspects of production such as the allocation and co-ordination of tasks among the', younger women (Kandiyoti, 1989).

Despite obvious built-in sources (i.e., wars, epidemics and natural disasters) of tension within this system its cyclical nature ensures its stability under subsistence or semi-subsistence conditions[8] since the willingness to provide for the elders ensures a future guarantee towards similar services in one's old age (Kandiyoti, 1989).

The transition of the family/household (its shift to production for the market), which has subsistence difficulties due to labour surplus[9] has to find new solutions under the prevailing social and economic conditions and will have a decisive impact on its organisation and on women's productive role.

B.2 The New Formation of the Household

Changes in rural households were first discussed by the school of economists who argued that structural differentiation in agriculture was the function of the forms of integration of this sector with capitalism (Turkish Social Association Society,1985, p.27-30). When labour becomes a commodity located outside the household, it docs not only prevent the family from being an independent economic unit, but also affects its structure and functions (Toffler, 1980).

When a closed rural economy is dominant, the household engaged in subsistence production with primitive agricultural technology and domestic labour functions as an independent economic unit. Every family member has specified responsibilities, and the household head and his wife direct and control the activities of the other members. It appears that families engaged in small scale-production on their own land or as sharecroppers or tenants, are very similar to extended patriarchal families (Goode, 1963).

On the other hand, the contemporary small-scale producers who rely entirely on domestic labour are different from the small-scale producers that characterise the closed rural subsistence economy, since they are largely tied to the market. They are dependent on the market in the determination of their crop pattern and the sale of their products and, also, because of the inputs and tools they use in production. In other words, the family is no longer an independent economic unit. Furthermore families have to undergo certain structural changes in order to maintain their status, to prevent the division and loss of their land through inheritance or sale, or to provide security for their life in the future (Goode, 1963; Kandiyoti, 1985).

It has been assumed by Coale (1973), that the mortality decline in some Third World countries took place together with the acceleration of the growth of capitalism. The important point here is that pressures resulting from both the mortality decline and the development of capitalism have affected the patriarchal family simultaneously and in the same direction. This caused conflict and tension among family members, as well as creating problems in external relations. The decline in infant mortality and in child mortality meant that the younger generation adapt faster to changing conditions and 'request' further fragmentation through inheritance leading to father-son conflicts (Handwerker, 1977, p.51).

Clearly, ihe tensions built into the patrilocally extended household come to a head when there is no viable 'patrimony' when the younger generation has independent sources of income or when the nature of what is to be shared changes dramatically. Thus, extendedness becomes a brief phase of the domestic cycle and a married son will generally set up a separate nuclear unit after he estimates that he has contributed the cost of his wedding to the paternal household (Kandiyoti, in Family in Turkish Society, 1985).


[1]. Households, Family structures and the Domestic domain have an equivalent meaning in this project.

[2]. A mode of production has generally been defined through the combination and articulation of two other concepts: 1) productive forces, that would include a technological level of the means of production and organisation of labour power, and 2) the relations of production (relations that men set up among themselves) in the process of social production. The productive forces and the relations of production take on certain possible modes in different historical periods (Abercrombie et. al.. 1988).

[3]. The introduction of new technology and mechanisation and increasing dependence on production for the market, tend to increase the minimum size of the economically efficient farm. This in turn causes smaller farmers/peasants to lose land through dept, monages, forfeitures, or sale, and this sharply increases the proportion of very small farmers on the brink of ruin and of landless labourers - a process of increasing pauperisation and proletarianisation (Gita Sen. 1985).

[4]. The distinction between peasant and simple commodity production forms of production rests on the degree of commitment to the market. Peasants characteristically reserve some of their production for home consumption or for inter-household, non-monctary exchange, while simple commodity producers are more heavily committed to the market. The end point of commoditisation, as Friedmann puts in, is ’an enterprise, whose relations to outsiders progressively take the forms of buying, selling, and competition’ (Friedmann. 1980, p.163). Simple commodity producers, then, depend to a considerable extent on commodity relations for reproduction. This is not so much the cause with peasant producers who, under certain conditions, may resist full market incorporation. Organisationally, peasant and simple commodity production may. however, be similar depending on family labour and a similar division of labour within the household. Empirically, it is often difficult, especially in Third World contexts, to differentiate between these two forms (Long, 1984, pp.26-27).

[5]. The concept of’family wage' can be introduced in two ways: I) the wage that fulfils expectations and improvements of the family standard of living, or 2) the minimum possible wage that is physically indispensable to reproduce die family's labour power. That is. the value of labour power is equivalent to '... the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the labourer’ (Marx, K., 1976a, p.71). If the price of labour power falls below its minimum, labour can only be maintained in a 'crippled state' (Marx. K., 1976a, p.73).

Since the wage is affected by Tiistorical and moral' elements. (Marx. K., 1976a, p.71), it will vary accordingly to historical conditions within different societies at different levels of development.

*. Olivia Harris (1981, p.51) observes generally and in relation to women that: the ’term household denotes an institution whose primary feature is co-residence; it is overwhelmingly assumed that people who live within a single space, however that is socially defined, share in the tasks of day-to day servicing of human beings, including consumption, and organise the reproduction of the next generation’. Although membership of a household implies at least a minimal degree of interaction with others in the unit, it cannot be assumed that such interaction entails equality with others or even co­operation among individuals (Townsend and Momsen, 1987).

[7]. The structural-functionalist approach has attempted to demonstrate that there is a functional Tu' between certain types of family and society (Parsons. 1959). They have mainly dealt with two ideal- typical families: the patriarchal extended family and the contemporary nuclear family. The former pattern is prevalent in agrarian societies, based on patrilineage. and where elders have absolute authority over the younger members and males over females. This type of family performs such diverse functions as production, consumption, education, social security, protection, reproduction, psychological satisfaction etc. The contemporary nuclear family, on the other hand, is neolocal and formed by patterns who have chosen each other by mutual consent. It also appears to be relatively isolated from the wider kinship network. This family type is assumed to be dominant in industrial societies.

[8]. The loss of equilibrium caused by wars, recruitment into the army, epidemics and natural disasters exert pressure on the family's subsistence. The family can overcome its internal problems of labour scarcity and difficulties with the help of the patriarchal system, because the family’s need for labour is satisfied through co-operation provided by the kinship system (Caldwell. 1978).

[9]. Declining mortality damages the family's social and economic status. Labour surplus, as long as it does not increase production, makes subsistence difficult.

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Different Patterns of Female Labour Force Participation in Third World Countries
Durham University
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Εugenia Petropoulou (Author), 1993, Different Patterns of Female Labour Force Participation in Third World Countries, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/385498


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