The fall of gender stereotyping in Zambia | Women’s migration from unpaid to paid work

Women can do what men can do! This is a popular gender slogan in Zambia today. The picture was different until recently. Under the British rule, Zambian women were trained in domestic skills for cheaply supporting and maintaining a healthy male workforce. Even after the independence, women continued to focus on unpaid care work, which is devalued in the market economy. So they were dependent, passive and socially isolated. However, in the 1980s the country’s indebted-economy was restructured and then copper prices fell as the industry was increasingly mechanised. All these contributed to halving the mining jobs over the 1990s and the era of full (male) employment coupled with social security came to an end. This made women to seek paid work, diluting gender stereotyping. Still, women are now burdened with both paid as well as traditional unpaid work. Shouldn’t men do more to share this burden?

Original story | Holding Up Half the Sky: How Zambia’s Women went from Housewives to Breadwinners

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