While women play a central role in agriculture throughout Africa, it does not follow that all rural-dwelling women subsist primarily on agricultural activities. In the Ankarana region of northern Madagascar, for example, many rural women earn their living through a combination of agricultural day labor, petty buying and selling, and remunerated sexual and domestic relations with men. Their situation encourages an analysis of the multiple ways that woman participate in shaping patterns of resource use and access. These include contributions to the productive process, participation in decision-making, and finally, social reproduction of the labor force and of gender ideologies. This piece explores the complex relationships between gender and local resource use, concluding that attention to the gendered dynamics of resource use, access and management not only accounts for a frequently overlooked segment of the population, but it also contributes to more sophisticated understandings of the ways that humans gain access to, manage, and interact with material environment around them by engaging in relationships that are at once complementary and competitive.


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pp. 675-706
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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