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State-backed work programmes and the regendering of work in Peru: Negotiating femininity in 'the provinces'

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nina Laurie


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Typically research on employment and the negotiation of gender in Latin America has focused on private sector jobs in metropolitan urban centres. Two distinct groups of women have become the main focus of this research: single, young women tied into different manifestations of global production networks, and a second group who occupy different spaces within the so-called 'informal sector' (these women are often, although not exclusively female heads of households living in metropolitan urban areas). This paper is an attempt to break with these traditions by suggesting that processes of globalisation and economic adjustment are not only manifest in the gendering of employment in export processing zones and/or informal sectors across the world but are also apparent in changes in public sector employment. I highlight the regendering of employment in the public sector in Latin America and focus on one new area of public sector work-the widespread implementation of state-backed work programmes. The analysis specifically focuses on women working in the Peruvian PAIT programme in the provincial town of Andahuaylas. It is argued that by looking at older, provincial, often married women, in 'women-maintained households' new light can be cast on the ways in which power relations and gender identities are negotiated via seemingly ordinary and gender-stereotyped activities. I examine processes of decisionmaking, budgeting, and the acquisition of skills, and focus on the relationship between Andean women's racialised and class-based identities. I trace the ways symbolic value and representation intertwine with material need to create positive environments for negotiation with male partners.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Laurie N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning A

Year: 1999

Volume: 31

Issue: 2

Pages: 229-250

Print publication date: 01/02/1999

ISSN (print): 0308-518X

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3409


DOI: 10.1068/a310229


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