Gender, masculinities and development : the case of the Colombian Microenterprise Plan
This study explores men's gender identities in development. It develops an analysis of gender power relations in households as economic limits by considering gender as a social identity not limited to women and exploring the gendered character of men’s work in development. The analysis focuses on three urban programmes from different development organisations involved in the National Microenterprise Plan in Colombia. The thesis examines changing expressions of masculinity and gender relations of power in households in which couples are working in family microenterprises, and one of the members has access to credit or other services. The labour market context, characterised by male job losses, has led many men to find in family businesses an alternative form of work. This process has brought about greater female participation and changes in gender identities. Gender relations are analysed in terms of both the division of labour in micro- economic activity and the contracts couples make around housework. The directly connected nature of the two types of work in family businesses allows different configurations of gender relations from those stemming from general patterns of paid work. The thesis analyses those elements that reveal changes in gender power relations such as control over money, access to property, etc., and discourses constructed around them. These elements are seen as a result of a cumulative process, which in some cases impacts on and is a consequence of women's self-empowerment and emerging masculinities. The changing nature of the gender division of labour in home-based businesses facilitates the negotiation of gender norms. The thesis examines for the three case studies the challenges that they pose to bringing men and masculinities into development.