Gendered production and consumption in rural Africa

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National Academy of Sciences


Recent research underscores the continued importance of gender in rural Africa. Analysis of interactions within households is becoming more sophisticated and continues to reject the unitary model. There is some evidence of discriminatory treatment of girls relative to boys, although the magnitudes of differential investments in health and schooling are not large and choices seem quite responsive to changes in opportunity costs. Social norms proscribing and prescribing male and female economic behavior remain substantial, extending into many domains, especially land tenure. Gender constructions are constantly evolving, although there is little evidence of rapid, transformative change in rural areas.