Gender dimensions in the cut-flower sector in Tanzania: implications for economic and social policy
The objective of this paper is to provide evidence of globalization ironies and/or successes with a purpose of bringing more clearly into focus the ways in which gender relations, roles and responsibilities—in both the domestic and commercial work arenas—have been changing and shaped with the new opportunities brought about by globalization. The paper analyzes the changes in the patterns of employment, income, benefits, opportunities and constrains facing employees using gender-disaggregated statistical data based on information from a sample of 202 employees (99 males and 103 females) interviewed using a structured questionnaire and focus group discussions held with the employees. The choice of the cut-flower sector, among other reasons, is based on the fact that it is one of the sectors that have flourished in the globalizing era, and has distinct gender dimensions in labour and economic. The feminization of labour in cut-flower industry in Tanzania is apparent with implicit gender division of labour in the sense that, while men dominate jobs involving handling of machinery and chemicals, women are concentrated in areas such as planting, harvesting, grading and packaging, which do not require any specialized skills. When one explores social relations in this context there are gains such as improvement in voice and bargaining power for some women in household decision making, but there are also negative outcomes such as broken homes and broken relationships due to clash of interests. The paper recommends engendering economic and social policies that are centred on the improvement of remuneration system, job security, and health management.
Keywords: Cut-flower, gender, globalization, feminization of labour, occupational segregation, wage differentials, women empowerment