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An Analysis of Women’s Agency in the Zambian Floriculture Industry using a Global Production Network Approach: Mechanisms and Pathways for Agency

Pollen, Claudia Mvula (2017) An Analysis of Women’s Agency in the Zambian Floriculture Industry using a Global Production Network Approach: Mechanisms and Pathways for Agency. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The study of women integrated in export markets in developing countries since the rise and spread of neo-liberalism over the past two and half decades attracted wide-ranging interest and scholarship, with findings identifying both the positive and negative effects of such integration for women. On the one hand, the gender literature identifies women as agents operating under complex traditional and institutional constraints, while on the other hand, development economists aiming at improving the wage gap have called for resources to be deployed to improve women’s lives. Examining the ways and circumstances of women’s working life in the Zambian floricultural industry has transformed into an inquiry into women’s agency. While substantial scholarship has uncovered the strategies (e.g. bargaining) that women use to attain certain outcomes (voice in the home or organising at work), the literature on GPNs and on gender in particular has remained largely silent on the processes underlying, and leading to, the outcomes sought. Therefore, the premise underlying this thesis was to establish that regardless of what women did, they did not operate in a vacuum, rather, their workplaces were part of a wider international community of global production processes integrated vertically and horizontally. Thus, uncovering the processes and strategies women used required framing the question within this broader framework. This thesis places the understanding of women’s agency within the broader context of Global Production Networks (GPNs). I argue that women rationalise their actions and decisions to work by deploying a range of strategies such as negotiations and bargaining, while drawing upon an array of resources through networks in the community and the workplace in the course of their work cycle. This suggests women do not simply do, rather they assess, strategize and then proceed with a course of action to reposition themselves so that what is observed as women’s actions is a product of the culmination of different processes i.e. Conception, gestation and delivery.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Key words: Women workers, Agency, GPNs, Cutflowers, Strategies, Resources
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr. Claudia Mvula Pollen
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2017 15:38
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2017 16:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18867

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