Women’s Nonagricultural Employment in Rural China

Jing Song, Brown University

This study uses in-depth interviews collected from four villages in China during 2000-2009 to investigate to what extent women are involved in nonagricultural employment, how they acquire such jobs, and how their employment strategies are affected by market and family factors. Along with the growth of non-agricultural employment in rural China, there has been a revival of traditional divisions of labor between men and women. But rural China does not converge on a uniform pattern of employment. Instead, women's employment choices are shaped by the characteristics of the local farming system, the availability of external jobs and home-based work, the resources for home business, and local policies on land property and economic development. The study looks at family behavior as the adaptation of cultural rules, including perceptions of manhood, womanhood, and the role of the family, inchanging political and economic circumstances.

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Presented in Session 126: Gender and the Division of Labor in Developing Countries