Women Sapphire Traders in Madagascar: Challenges and Opportunities for Empowerment


Lawson, Lynda, and Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt. 2020. “Women Sapphire Traders in Madagascar: Challenges and Opportunities for Empowerment.” The Extractive Industries and Society 7 (2): 405–11. 

Authors: Lynda Lawson, Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt


Recent literature has seen a growing appreciation of livelihoods based on informal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) that supplements women’s primary reproductive roles, leaving a gap in the parts women play at the trading end of the value chain of ASM. This paper fills that void by adding to the growing body of research on gendered trade in ASM. It focuses on women traders and the complex challenges and opportunities they face while carrying out this informal trade. The paper is based on extensive field research, interviews, and focus group discussions of women sapphire traders in southwest Madagascar, colloquially known as “ladies in hats,” who work in clan-based associations described as nascent proto-institutions. It draws upon institutional and entrepreneurial theory to understand their position in the sapphire value chain, and illuminates how women’s status could be strengthened to create the foundation for a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. The paper also asks how women traders can be empowered in view of the current opportunities and challenges, and suggests that the proto-institutions could form the basis of a cooperative or a small company if regulatory and financial settings for these women can be improved and if there is an opportunity for them to formalize their trade.

Keywords: women in informal trade in Africa, Madagascar women, Madagascar sapphire, gender and mining

Topics: Economies, Informal Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Madagascar

Year: 2020

An Analysis of Water Collection Labor among Women and Children in 24 Sub-Saharan African Countries


Graham, Jay P., Mitsuaki Hirai, and Seung-Sup Kim. 2016. “An Analysis of Water Collection Labor among Women and Children in 24 Sub-Saharan African Countries.” PLOS ONE 11 (6): e0155981. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155981.

Authors: Jay P. Graham, Mitsuaki Hirai, Seung-Sup Kim



It is estimated that more than two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) must leave their home to collect water, putting them at risk for a variety of negative health outcomes. There is little research, however, quantifying who is most affected by long water collection times.


This study aims to a) describe gender differences in water collection labor among both adults and children (< 15 years of age) in the households (HHs) that report spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, disaggregated by urban and rural residence; and b) estimate the absolute number of adults and children affected by water collection times greater than 30 minutes in 24 SSA countries.


We analyzed data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) (2005–2012) to describe water collection labor in 24 SSA countries.


Among households spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, adult females were the primary collectors of water across all 24 countries, ranging from 46% in Liberia (17,412 HHs) to 90% in Cote d’Ivoire (224,808 HHs). Across all countries, female children were more likely to be responsible for water collection than male children (62% vs. 38%, respectively). Six countries had more than 100,000 households (HHs) where children were reported to be responsible for water collection (greater than 30 minutes): Burundi (181,702 HHs), Cameroon (154,453 HHs), Ethiopia (1,321,424 HHs), Mozambique (129,544 HHs), Niger (171,305 HHs), and Nigeria (1,045,647 HHs).


In the 24 SSA countries studied, an estimated 3.36 million children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for water collection in households with collection times greater than 30 minutes. We suggest that accessibility to water, water collection by children, and gender ratios for water collection, especially when collection times are great, should be considered as key indicators for measuring progress in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Boys, Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte D'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

Year: 2016

Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: a Cross-National Study


Shandra, John M., Carrie L. Shandra, and Bruce London. 2008. “Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: A Cross-National Study.” Population and Environment 30 (1-2): 48–72.

Authors: John M. Shandra, Carrie L. Shandra, Bruce London


There have been several cross-national studies published in the world polity theoretical tradition that find a strong correlation between nations with high levels of environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and low levels of various forms of environmental degradation. However, these studies neglect the role that women’s NGOs potentially play in this process. We seek to address this gap by conducting a cross-national study of the association between women’s NGOs and deforestation. We examine this relationship because deforestation often translates into increased household labor, loss of income, and impaired health for women and, as a result, women’s non-governmental organizations have become increasingly involved in dealing with these problems often by protecting forests. We use data from a sample of 61 nations for the period of 1990–2005. We find substantial support for world polity theory that both high levels of women’s and environmental NGOs per capita are associated with lower rates of deforestation. We also find that high levels of debt service and structural adjustment are correlated with higher rates of forest loss. We conclude with a discussion of findings, policy implications, and possible future research directions.

Keywords: deforestation, women, non-governmental organizations, cross-national

Topics: Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Oceania Countries: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Year: 2008

Land Tenure Insecurity and Formalizing Land Rights in Madagascar: A Gender Perspective on the Certification Program


Widman, Marit. 2014. “Land Tenure Insecurity and Formalizing Land Rights in Madagascar: A Gender Perspective on the Certification Program.” Feminist Economics 20 (1): 130–54. 

Author: Marit Widman


This contribution examines Madagascar’s land tenure reform – aimed at reducing land tenure insecurity – from a gender perspective. In particular, it investigates the certification program issuing formal land title deeds (land certificates) to landholders. Drawing on a household survey with gender-disaggregated asset data conducted in the rural municipality Soavinandriana, the analysis suggests that the certification program has strengthened both men’s and women’s formal claims to individually held land. However, the lack of gender equality principles and, in particular, of mechanisms to ensure that couples’ jointly held land is jointly secured, seems to have reinforced primary ownership of land by male household heads, at the expense of women’s land rights. Furthermore, the land tenure reform does not address some of the most important threats to tenure security such as colonial titles and commercial pressure on land, and large parts of the country are still not covered by the certification program.

Keywords: gender inequality, institutions, land, intrahousehold allocation, survey research, rural economic development

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Governance, Land Grabbing, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Madagascar

Year: 2014

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