A review of women, poverty and informal trade issues in East and Southern Africa

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Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd


Poverty is more than an economic feature, as it is caused and effects are diverse. African women perform 90 percent of the work processing food crops, collecting fuel and water. Structural adjustments also affected women more as it increased the pressures on women to generate income. Reproductive work load increased, and women's production are also affected by cheap imports. Women's activities in many local markets are considered an extension of the domestic realm; they sell prepared foods, agricultural products, crafts, clothing, and small household furnishings. Women's revenue is smaller than those of men as women's operations are normally smaller, women trade perishable goods, and lack access to effective transportation. Women's income is highly linked with the improvement of children's welfare. In order to improve women's direct returns, legal reforms must secure women's property rights, and facilitate access to credit.


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Women, Trade policy, Poverty, Income generation, Local markets, Informal sector, East and southern africa


International Social Science Journal 57(2): 255-275(21)