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Cyclone, Gender, and Ritual


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  • Yoshito Takasaki


This paper demonstrates that the Fijian kava ritual emerges as insurance against cyclone risk, as women's production of ritual handicraft gifts is linked with risk sharing. The cyclone tightens female-heads' constraints on intra-household male labor allocation in the gendered Fijian society. This is because male labor sharing against dwelling damage emerges as a new gendered division of labor, and cyclone relief (food aid) crowds out risk sharing against crop damage, but not against dwelling damage. As a result, even though handicraft gift production is normally neutral to the household head's gender, only female-headed households intensify production against dwelling damage to receive more male labor help and reduce production against crop damage to facilitate intensification against dwelling damage. These gendered responses are caused by gendered constraints other than labor endowment, such as discrimination. The kava ritual protects women with limited coping capabilities, though it is not sufficient to fill the gender gap in dwelling rehabilitation.

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Paper provided by Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba in its series Tsukuba Economics Working Papers with number 2009-009.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:tsu:tewpjp:2009-009

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