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Gender production networks: Sustaining cocoa-chocolate sourcing in Ghana and India

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  • Stephanie Barrientos

Abstract

Abstract Transformation of global sourcing over recent decades has significant implications for gender relations of production in the developing world. Analysis of global production networks and value chains (GPN/GVC) provides important insights into the changing dynamics of global sourcing and its embeddedness within diverse societies and countries. However, the gender dimension of this process is often overlooked. Feminist analysis provides important insights into a changing gender division of labour within global production, but rarely links it to the commercial dynamics of GPN/GVCs. This paper develops a gender production network analysis to inform a comparative examination of gender production relations in cocoa. It draws on case studies in Ghana and India. It asks in what ways are GPN/GVCs bearers of gender transformation, and what are the implications for the sustainability of quality cocoa sourcing by chocolate manufacturers? The paper finds that gendered social norms and practices in both countries mean that women’s contribution to cocoa production has long been under-valued, with women largely relegated to the position of unpaid family or casual labour. However, within the gender division of labour women do play an important role in certain activities that are increasingly recognised in the industry as critical to ensuring good yields and quality production. These are of increasing importance to consumer-focused brand name chocolate companies. Recognition and support for women’s role could make an important contribution, both to the empowerment of women cocoa farmers and workers, but also to the future sustainability of quality cocoa sourcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Barrientos, 2013. "Gender production networks: Sustaining cocoa-chocolate sourcing in Ghana and India," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18613, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:18613
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    File URL: http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/institutes/gdi/publications/workingpapers/bwpi/bwpi-wp-18613.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carr, Edward R., 2008. "Men's Crops and Women's Crops: The Importance of Gender to the Understanding of Agricultural and Development Outcomes in Ghana's Central Region," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 900-915, May.
    2. Jeff Neilson, 2007. "Global Markets, Farmers And The State: Sustaining Profits In The Indonesian Cocoa Sector," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(2), pages 227-250.
    3. Barrientos, Stephanie & Dolan, Catherine & Tallontire, Anne, 2003. "A Gendered Value Chain Approach to Codes of Conduct in African Horticulture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1511-1526, September.
    4. Neil M. Coe & Peter Dicken & Martin Hess, 2008. "Global production networks: realizing the potential," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 271-295, May.
    5. Hans-Ulrich Derlien & B. Guy Peters, 2008. "Introduction," Chapters,in: The State at Work, Volume 2, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Naila Kabeer & Simeen Mahmud, 2004. "Globalization, gender and poverty: Bangladeshi women workers in export and local markets," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 93-109.
    7. Philip Kelly, 2009. "From Global Production Networks to Global Reproduction Networks: Households, Migration, and Regional Development in Cavite, the Philippines," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 449-461.
    8. Elson, Diane, 1999. "Labor Markets as Gendered Institutions: Equality, Efficiency and Empowerment Issues," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 611-627, March.
    9. Stephanie Barrientos & Andrienetta Kritzinger, 2004. "Squaring the circle: global production and the informalization of work in South African fruit exports," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 81-92.
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