Bachelor Thesis, 2006
77 Pages, Grade: 1,0
1.2 Problem area and problem definition
1.5 Target group
1.6 Definitions and abbreviations
2. Scientific and theoretic approach
2.2 Ecological Economics and institutional theory
2.3 Feminist theory
3. Scientific method
3.2.1 Literature review
3.2.2 Choice of respondents
3.2.3 Interview performance
3.2.4 Participation observation
3.2.5 Analyze method
3.2. Ethical considerations
3.3 Critical reflections on method and sources
4. Women’s situation in Mozambique
4.1 An introduction to Mozambique
4.1.1 A developing country with a colonial history
4.2 Women’s situation
4.2.1 The family situation of women
4.2.2 Division of labour between women and men
4.2.3 Women’s access to economic resources
4.2.4 Women’s access to land
4.3 Possibilities to develop women’s situation
4.3.1 Women and micro-credits
5. The rural village Maciene
5.1 An introduction to the village
5.1.1 The development work
5.1.2 Previous studies about women in Maciene
5.2 Local leaders’ view on women’s situation
5.2.1 Division of labour between women and men
5.2.2 Women’s access to economic resources
5.2.3 Women’s access to land
5.3 Local leaders view on possibilities
5.3.1 Women and micro-credits
6. The farmers in Maciene
6.1 Female and male farmer’s view
6.1.1 Division of labour between women and men
6.1.2 Women’s access to economic resources
6.1.3 Women’s access to land
6.2 Female farmer’s view on possibilities
7.1 Female farmer’s situation in Maciene
7.1.1 Division of labour between women and men
7.1.2 Female farmer’s access to economic resources
7.1.3 Female farmer’s access to land
7.2 Developing female farmer’s situation in Maciene
7.2.1 Local leaders’ view on female farmer’s situation
7.2.2 Possibilities to develop the division of labour
7.2.3 Possibilities to develop female farmer’s to access economic resources
7.2.4 Possibilities to develop female farmer’s access to land
8.1 Final words
8.1.1 Future research
List of sources
Appendix 1 Interview guide organizations
Appendix 2 Interview guide The Hunger Project
Appendix 3 Interview guide MINAG in Xai-Xai
Appendix 4 Interview guide Mr. Matsinhe, The Anglican Church in Maciene
Appendix 5 Interview guide village leaders
Appendix 6 Interview guide female farmers
Appendix 7 Interview guide male farmers
List of tables and figures
Table 1 List of respondents
Table 2 Gender and marital status of the household head, 1996 (percentages)
Table 3 Inhabitants in the four parts of the village
Table 4 Short facts about the interviewed female farmers
Table 5 Short facts about the interviewed male farmers
Figure 1 Map of Mozambique
African women are invisible producers. The continents basic survival depends on them. The women are the ones that grow, process, transport and market practically all of Africa’s food. They provide 90 percent of the water, wood and fuel, and they spend many hours fetching these resources. Besides, they manage the household and bring up the children. The women own only one percent of the land and receive less than seven percent of farm extension services. They are undernourished, illiterate and they lack influence in the decisions affecting their lives. Mozambique, previous a Portuguese colony, is situated on the southeastern coast of Africa. 80 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture and most of them are peasant farmers. 70 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty, which means that they live with less than one dollar in a day. The poorest people live in the rural areas. The average lifetime is low and the infant mortality rate is high. HIV/AIDS is a large problem in the country. The illiteracy rates are high, and among rural women less than one fifth know how to read and write. In the survival strategy for the rural families’ women are the main people responsible for the self-reliance and they work continuously.
This bachelor thesis is based on a field study performed in the rural village Maciene in Mozambique. The village is situated in the Gaza province, in the southern part of the country. Most of the people in the village are peasant farmers, but they also live from cattle breeding and small-scale fishing. The village is situated in the Lebombo diocese within the Anglican Church. The Swedish church diocese in Västerås and the Swedish Mission Council are since many years supporting a development project in the village that is called The Maciene Vision. Since 2002 has Mälardalen University been part of the project, and students at the programme Economy for sustainable development and the Public health programme have been given the opportunity to perform field studies in Maciene.
Many of the previous field studies in Maciene have examined women’s situation. Students at the programme of public health performed these studies for their bachelor and master thesis. Eva Karevik and Anna Svensson studied the socio-economic conditions of 174 women in Maciene centre and also women’s descriptions concerning education and access to health information. Their result shows that Maciene is a typical agriculture community and few people have an employment that generates income. The women describe themselves as powerless in order to affect their situation concerning education. There is a positive attitude to education but external circumstances forms obstacles. The major factor that affects women’s opportunities to education is money and in this matter the family plays a central role. Also Pernilla Strömberg studied women’s socio-economic situation and focused on family planning and women’s reproductive health. The health centre gives information about family planning and the Anglican Church is preaching abstinent. Women think positive about family planning and contraceptive, and the information they get. Emma Forsberg studied pregnant and breastfeeding women. Her results shows that the women in Maciene approximately have given birth to 2,4 children. The women give birth to children in short interval and a third of the women have lost a child. During the pregnancy the women work less, but during the breast-feeding they work like normal. The women are low educated and in average they attend school for 4,2 years. Anna Gidlund studied everyday life conditions and beliefs regarding health and wellbeing in three households in the village. It was concluded that it is important to stimulate dialogues and participation to increase the beliefs regarding feelings of possibility to influence the community and to see the connection to an improved life situation. Also household members must dare to challenge beliefs seen as barriers to achieve their goals. Gidlund recommends further research in Maciene to explore different roles and meanings of gender in preventive and promoting work. She also points out that equality related questions are important.
With background of previous thesis about women in Maciene, this thesis focuses on a new problem area, women and agriculture. The female farmer’s situation is examined in three different areas. Firstly, the division of labour between women and men is examined, both in agriculture and in household. It is assumed that there are specific roles for female and male farmers that depend on the cultural context. We believe that women are responsible for more work than men and that they are in a subordinated position. Secondly the female farmer’s access to economic resources is examined. It is assumed that the men, in their role as the head of the household, have more power about the families’ economic resources. The third area deals with the ownership of the land. According to the law women have the right to own land but in practise it is believed that the culture forms hinders for women to own land. This study examines also possibilities to develop the female farmer’s situation in these three areas in Maciene. Micro-credits are a common tool to improve poor people’s situation in developing countries, and especially women’s situation. This thesis examines how micro-credits could develop the female farmer’s situation in Maciene.
The problem is defined in the following questions:
- How is the division of labour between women and men in agriculture and in household in Maciene?
- How is the female farmer’s access to economic resources and access to land in Maciene?
- What are the possibilities to develop the female farmer’s situation in Maciene in aspects of division of labour, access to economic resources and access to land? Can micro-credits develop the female farmer’s situation in Maciene?
The purpose of this thesis is to study female farmer’s situation in Maciene in aspect of division of labour between women and men in agriculture and in household, access to economic resources and access to land. The purpose is also to see what the possibilities are to develop the female farmer’s situation in Maciene in these three aspects, and if micro-credits can develop their situation.
This study focuses on three aspects of the female farmer’s lives; division of labour between women and men in the agriculture and in the household, access to economic resources and access to land. These are areas that are not examined by previous field studies. Hence, this study will bring out new knowledge about women’s situation and the roles of gender in Maciene. Using this broad perspective it was not possible within this thesis time frame for deep studies about each of the aspects, but however, we assume that the knowledge from this thesis can be used for further studies about women in Maciene.
This bachelor thesis is intended for people that are interested in women’s situation in developing countries and gender issues. The target group is also students on the programme Economy for sustainable development at Mälardalen University in Västerås, people working with The Maciene Vision, the diocese of Västerås and the Swedish Mission Council. A short version of this thesis will be written and translated to Portuguese to be available to the villagers in Maciene.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten  
In the next chapter this thesis starts with a discussion concerning scientific approach and we will explain why a hermeneutic approach is used in this thesis. We also present the theories that are used in the thesis, which includes theories about ecological economics, gender and feminist theories. These theories influenced the whole research; the field study’s method, how the empirical data was described and analyzed. The third chapter describes the qualitative method that was used and how the field study was performed. The chapter finishes with some reflections regarding method and sources. The fourth chapter provides an introduction to Mozambique and a description of women’s situation in the country. This is done on the basis of a literature study and statements by interviewed people at several organizations. Later on, the fifth chapter focuses on the village of Maciene. Firstly an introduction to the village is given and result from previous field studies in Maciene is presented. Secondly local leaders view on women’s situation is described. The local leaders represent the Anglican Church in Maciene, a NGO that works in the village and also four traditional village leaders. The sixth chapter shows the views of 14 female and 10 male farmers that live in the village. In the seventh chapter the women’s situation in Maciene is analysed on the basis of the theories presented in the second chapter. The last chapter draws conclusions and rounds up the thesis.
What is true knowledge? This question comes to crucial importance in the scientific theory. The scientific theory separates those who believe that there is an absolute knowledge and those who believe that knowledge must be interpreted and that all opinions are equal, good or bad. These different approaches are called positivism and hermeneutic. Most of those who have taken a position in this issue feel that they are somewhere between this both extreme opinions. The positivism has its origin in the natural science. The scientific facts should be objective, able to quantify, unambiguous and able to reproduce. The scientific statements should also be value-neutral; it is important to separate facts from values. All influence from the scientist on the studied object can be eliminated and the result therefore is considered as an objective truth about how the reality is constructed.
Peter Söderbaum, professor in Ecological Economics, argues that it is important to strive for a pluralistic approach to science and he is opposed to the view that assumes that positivism is the only scientific method. Our position in this issue is influenced by the thoughts of Söderbaum, for this reason a hermeneutic approach is used in this thesis. Another reason to choose the hermeneutic approach is that we want to get a deep understanding of the female farmer’s situation and that is something we believe that the hermeneutic approach is able to help us with, apart from the positivist approach. This chapter discusses the hermeneutic approach and also the theories that form the basic theoretic understanding of this thesis.
In hermeneutic interpretation is an important ingredient and the purpose is to get a valid and a joint comprehension of a texts meaning. The concept of text is not only written documents but it also includes discourses and actions. In the research interview the conversation is transformed to texts that will be interpreted. There is a difference between hermeneutic interpretations of interview texts and literary texts. The literature texts are finished and should be understood without knowledge about how the situation was created. A research interview comprise of both the creation and the interpretation of a text. Though the interview text is incomplete, for example gestures and implicit messages should be interpreted to make the interview text complete. One basic principle in hermeneutic interpretation is the hermeneutic circle, which will be described later in the thesis (3.2.7 Analyze method). Another basic idea of hermeneutic is that a phenomenon only can be understood in the context where it occurs. The context shapes a phenomenon’s meaning and is the key to understand it. Our field study was carried out in a culture different from our own, consequently it was important for us to know the cultural context in Mozambique to be able to understand the female farmers situation. The people in Maciene are peasant farmers and have to work on the machamba everyday to be able to feed themselves. They need to walk far to fetch water and firewood to cook the food. Also the children often need to walk a long distance to the school and they are expected to help their parents with the housework. Thus, there is no exaggeration that the culture in Mozambique differs much from our in Sweden. Since we did not grow up in this culture we can never understand this context fully. But, by living in the country while doing the research and be able to ask questions and experience their culture, we had a unique opportunity to study their country in a way we never could have done in Sweden.
One part of hermeneutic is that our understanding is based on background of some conditions.
We will never experience the world without these conditions; we enter every situation with our comprehensions. In research Söderbaum believes that the subjectivity never can be eliminated. What we have learnt in our lives and studied earlier forms our pre-understanding and it have an influence on what we study. According to hermeneutic it is important to be aware of your pre-understanding, because all our interpretations have a background in this knowledge. Our pre-understanding is affected of the fact that we are students in the subject Ecological Economics at Mälardalen University. The aim for ecological economics is an ecological sustainable development. When discussing sustainable development we believe that social, cultural, economical and ecological aspects should be included. We also believe that there is a cultural difference between women and men that are socially constructed and we strive for a social, political and economic equality of women and men. Thus, a feministic approach is used in this thesis.
In the two following chapters ecological economics and feminist theory will be described. The understanding of these theories depends on the choice of literature that was made. It was not possible within this thesis’ time frame to do a complete review of either ecological economics or feminist theory. But, the reason to choose certain literature and a short presentation of the authors to this literature is given later in the thesis (see 3.1.2 Literature review).
The basic theoretic approach in this thesis is an ecological economic view. This subject area is interdisciplinary and contains knowledge from both ecology and economy, but also other scientific fields are important. The aim with ecological economics is an ecological sustainable development and to reach this a pluralistic approach is recommended. Nevertheless, we, and presumably most of those who recognize themselves as ecological economists, are critical to the neo-classical approach on economy. Therefore we firstly want to describe the difference between ecological economics and neo-classical economy.
The ecological economist Herman E. Daly describes the difference between the neo-classical model and the ecological economics view in his book Beyond growth: the economics of sustainable development. In the neo-classical model the economy is seen as an isolated system consisted of firms and households. The companies produce goods and services and the households give the companies factors of production. The micro-economic activities are seen as parts of a larger system and their relations with the larger system determine if they should continue to grow or not. The macro-economy on the other hand is not seen as part of anything else, and thereby it is considered that it can grow forever. However, Daly argues that the economic system must be seen as subordinated the ecological system. This is because of that almost all economic activity use natural resources and then gives it back as waste. Since the ecological system is constant there is a limit for how much the macro-economy should grow. Daly is very critical to the view that growth is a prerequisite for development and he means that there is a significant difference between growth and development. He sees growth as a quantitative increase and development as a qualitative improvement. The aim with all economical activities should therefore, according to Daly, be a sustainable development and not economical growth. However, the concept of sustainable development is complex and it is the issue to much debate.
Sustainable development was introduced for the first time in 1987 by the Brundtland commission in the report Our common future. Sustainable development was defined as “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The Brundtland commission stressed that to make all people able to meet their needs today the poverty in the world must be ended. For that reason they emphasized that an economic growth was necessary, in rich as well as in poor countries and it should be fairly shared among the citizens.
The issue of economical growth versus sustainable development will not be discussed in this thesis. However, Eva Friman makes a good point in this issue. She argues that in poor countries a large part of the labour force consists of peasant farmers and it is foremost the women that have their main occupation there. An increased economical growth in terms of an increase of GDP should force these women to change from peasant farming to work outside the home. She stresses that in an ecological economic point of view increased growth does not automatically lead to sustainable development; contrary peasant farming and local production can often mean less effect on the environment. Hence, according to ecological economics one of the biggest challenges in the future is to find solutions that give economical profits without charging the environment.
As remarked earlier Söderbaum believes it is important to open up the national economy to other approaches than the neo-classical one. There should not be one single approach that is used, but different approaches should co-exist. In the study of environment and development he wants to move forward the positions of institutional economics. Though we study how the female farmer’s situation in Maciene can develop we regard that institutional theory is suitable to use for this purpose. We are aware of the fact that it can be problematic to use a Western theory to analyze a community in Mozambique. These theories were not constructed for this reason. Additionally, from the beginning we did not plan to use these theories for this thesis. However, these theories were a central part in the courses we took in ecological economics and when we started to analyze the female farmer’s situation we noticed that these theories would help us to understand their situation. For that reason, institutional economics is a part of our theoretical framework, and it will be shortly described in the text below.
In neo-classical economics the human being is viewed as a rational person who is supposed to maximize his own benefits and only acts in favour of his own profit. This person is referred to as Economic man . To solve the environment and development problems Söderbaum believes that this model is not enough. He argues that it is important to describe the human being in holistic terms and therefore he suggests an alternative or a way to complement the neo-classical microeconomics view on humans. According to Söderbaum the human being should be viewed as an actor, a political economic man/woman and his term for this person is Political Economic Person (PEP). To understand the individual’s behaviour and how they act consideration must be taken to the individual’s different roles, relations, activities and motives/interests. The term for all the different roles that an individual has can be named as the person’s identity and the individual’s relations are assigned as its network. In the same way activities can be linked to the individual’s life style and finally the individual’s motives/interests can be seen as a person’s ideological orientation. All these preferences collaborate. Hence, because of identity, life style and ideological orientation every single individual will act differently. According to Söderbaum organizations consist of political economic persons who together form the organization with their ideological orientation. The term for these is Political Economic Organizations (PEO). To sum up, both persons and organizations can be seen as actors who are driven by their own ideological orientation.
Birgitta Schwartz makes use of the new ways of thinking in institutional theory in her dissertation The green company: strategically behaviour on the institutional scene. According to Schwartz the organizations develop patterns and rules when they interact with each other, which govern their actions. The organizations legitimize these patterns and rules by making out normative explanations for them. After a while they take these for granted and they adapt their organizations to these new institutions. Schwartz argues that all this happens in what DiMaggio and Powell call organizational field. According to DiMaggio and Powell organizational field consists of those organizations that together constitute a recognized area of institutional life. These organizations can be key suppliers, customers, authorities and other organizations that produce similar products or services, in short, all actors that are relevant. DiMaggio and Powell consider actors within an organizational field to after some time more and more resemble each other. This process of homogenization is called isomorphism and DiMaggio and Powell identify three types of mechanisms that cause this institutional change; coercive isomorphism, mimetic isomorphism and normative isomorphism. The coercive isomorphism comes up both formally and informally by pressures exerted on organizations by other organizations from which they depend on, and through cultural expectations on the organization from the society in which the organization acts. The mimetic isomorphism derives from uncertainty; when organizations are uncertain about how to act, they may start imitate each other. The third form of isomorphism is normative and firstly it stems from professionalization, which is a nationalization process where individuals tend to resemble each other for example in the way they act and talk.
Even if Schwartz and DiMaggio and Powell discuss about actors like organizations, we believe that we can use these theories to analyse individuals in Maciene, though the organizations consist of people who act. This can also be compared with how Söderbaum discusses about Political Economic Person (PEP) as actors.
The basis of feminist theories is women’s standpoint. These theories stress that women share common social experiences, and therefore have a different ways of seeing and understanding that is different from those of men. But in the feministic theories much debate is focused on what exactly women’s shared experiences are and it differs mostly from the distinct different versions of feminist theory that are socialist feminist and radical feminist perspectives. The socialist feminists argue that women’s standpoint emerges from the social context of their lives, particularly from the sexual division of labour and from women’s subordination to men. They follow Karl Marx when they claim that the women, since having a subordinate position, are more advantageous to interpret their situation, and to transform patriarchal relations. The radical feminists on the other hand claim that women’s standpoint emerges from the sexual exploitation of women by men, and this must be overcome.
However, several feminist theorists have now moved beyond the concept of standpoint and argue that there is no single feminist standpoint. Other African-American and Third World feminists argue that the Western feminism misses to represent coloured women. Chandra Mohanty gives critique to the Western feminism for portraying Third World women into one homogenous group, defined as: “religious (read ‘not progressive’), family oriented (read ‘traditional’), legal minors (read ‘they are not conscious about their rights’), illiterate (read ‘ignorant’), domestic (read ‘their-country-is-a-state-of-war; they-must-fight!’)”. Sachs agrees with Mohanty that there are tendencies in scholars to “homogenizing” rural women and define their lives in comparison to their more liberated urban sisters. Rural women’s experiences and voices tend to be marginalized because the centres of scientific knowledge and feminist movements are centred in the urban areas. According to Sachs “one challenge faced by scholars involves how to avoid colonizing the voices of rural women, and how instead to seriously face and understand the different contexts of rural women’s lives, not falling into the trap of portraying the universal rural woman as a white, farmwife or as a Third World woman of colour who appears as the ultimate victim of patriarchy and capitalism”. As we discussed earlier about hermeneutic we believe it is important to understand the cultural context to get an understanding of the rural women’s life.
Most feminists are especially concerned with social, political and economic inequality between women and men. The definition of equality in this thesis is: “Women and men have the same rights, obligations and opportunities in all essential areas in life.” Some feminists argue that gendered and sexed identities, such as "man" and "woman," are socially constructed. One of them is R.W. Connell. Her research forms a theoretical framework for how gender is conceptualized in this thesis. According to Connell, gender can be described as the cultural difference of women and men that is based on the biological difference between female and male. However, in the social science the term gender shifts focus from difference to relations, therefore gender can be described as a matter of social relations where individuals and groups act. In gender relations there are not only difference and dichotomy, but also other patterns such as power among men in for example organizations or governments. These patterns in social relations are called structures and they can be seen in our everyday life activities or practices. In common sense the definition of gender sees as an expression of a natural bodily difference of female from male. But according to Connell this definition is wrong. These cultural patterns do not only express the bodily difference between the sexes, they can do more or less than that. The society uses bodies and puts reproductive difference into social play. This can be called the “reproductive arena”. This allows to the following definition of gender, borrowed from R.W. Connel: “Gender is the structure of social relation that centers on the reproductive arena, and the set of practices (governed by this structure) that bring reproductive distinctions between bodies into social processes.” Hence, gender patterns can vary in different contexts but they are still gender. They reproduce socially and often appear unchanging. However, they are always changing because new situations always occur, and, at last, they may have an end.
 The Hunger Project, The African Woman Food Farmer – Her future is Africa’s future. Brochure.
 Utrikespolitiska institutet, 2003, pp. 24-25
 United Nations Development Programme, Maputo, 2002, Mozambique National Human Development Report 2001 Gender, Women and Human Development: An agenda for the future, p. 89
 Andrade, Ximena, et al., 1997, Families in a changing environment in Mozambique, p. 34
 Holtmar, Marie and Wretling, Niklas, 2003, The water Issue in the Village of Maciene
 Mälardalen University a) www.mdh.se 2006-07-18
 Mälardalen University c) www.mdh.se 2006-07-18
 Karevik, Eva and Svensson, Anna, 2004, The socio-economic situation and women’s descriptions concerning education and access to health information
 Strömberg, Pernilla, 2004, Socio-economic situation and family planning – A study of women in Maciene, Mozambique
 Forsberg, Emma, 2003, Gravida och ammande kvinnor i Maciene, Mozambique
 Gidlund, Anna, 2006, Everyday life conditions and beliefs regarding health and wellbeing
 National Encyclopedia of Sweden www.ne.se 2006-09-28
 Connell, R.W, 2002, Gender, p. 10
 Ledgerwood, Joanna, 2002, Microfinance Handbook, p. 2
 Thurén, Thorsten, Vetenskapsteori för nybörjare, p. 14
 Kvale, Steinar, Den kvalitativa forskningsintervjun, pp. 62-64
 Söderbaum, Peter, 1993, Ekologisk ekonomi- Miljö och utveckling i ny belysning, p. 44
 Kvale, pp. 49-52
 Gilje, Nils and Grimen, Harald, 1992, Samhällsvetenskapernas förutsättningar, p. 188
 A piece of land for cultivation.
 Gilje and Grimen, 1992, p. 183
 Söderbaum, 1993, p. 44
 Gilje and Grimen, 1992, p. 183
 Söderbaum, Peter, 2000, Ecological Economics - A political Economi cs Approach to Environment and development, pp. 19-21.
 Daly, Herman E., 1996, Beyond growth: the economics of sustainable development pp. 45-60
 Bruntland, Gro Harlem (ed.), 1987: Our common future: The World Commission on Environment and Development , pp. 370-372
 Friman, Eva, 2004, "Ekologisk ekonomi – miljö, etik och rättvisa", chapter 5 in Öckerman, Anders and Friman, Eva (eds.), Hela världen - Samhälleliga och kulturella aspekter på miljökrisen. pp. 144-146
 Söderbaum, 1993, p. 37
 Söderbaum, 1993, p. 37
 Söderbaum, 2000, pp. 32-36 and 48-51
 Schwartz, Birgitta, 1997, The green company: strategically behaviour on the institutional scene , p. 31
 DiMaggio, PJ, Powell, W W, 1991, “The iron cage revisited: institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields” in The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Powell WW, DiMaggio PJ (eds.), pp. 63-82
 Sachs, Carolyn, 1996, Gendered fields – Rural Women, Agriculture and Environment, pp. 12-15
 Mohanty, Chandra T., 1991: “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.” Pp. 51-80 in Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, Chandra Mohanty, Ann Russo, and Lourdes Torres (eds.), cited in Sachs, 1996, p. 22
 Ibid p. 22
 Sachs, 1996 , p. 23
 National Encyclopedia of Sweden www.ne.se 2006-09-28
 Connell, 2002, p. 10
 Ibid p. 7-10
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