CREATING PROFITABLE LIVELIHOODS: MOBILITY AS A ‘PRACTICAL’ AND ‘STRATEGIC’ GENDER NEED IN PORTO NOVO, BENIN

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the importance of spatial mobility to the creation of profitable livelihood strategies for women in Porto Novo, Benin. Drawing on 522 surveys and 15 life-history interviews conducted with women who use a wide array of strategies, this paper demonstrates that under some circumstances mobility may be as important to increasing women's income-generating opportunities as access to capital. Moreover, I argue that focusing on women's access to spatial mobility will not only increase the profitability of their livelihood strategies, but may also create spaces in which issues of autonomy and independence can also be addressed. In so doing, this research contributes to work on gender and development by demonstrating the importance of considering the spatial aspects of social and economic processes.

Keywords: Benin; CHAID analysis; Gender and development; livelihoods; spatial mobility

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2006.00348.x

Affiliations: Social Science Department/Geography, UW-Platteville, Platteville, WI 53818, USA., Email: mandelj@vwplatt.edu

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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