Living with Patriarchy and Poverty: Women’s Agency and the Spatialities of Gender Relations in Afghanistan


Schütte, Stefan. 2014. “Living with Patriarchy and Poverty: Women’s Agency and the Spatialities of Gender Relations in Afghanistan.” Gender, Place & Culture 21 (9): 1176–92. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2013.832661.

Author: Stefan Schütte


This article examines the spatialities of gender relations and women’s oppression in urban Afghanistan under conditions of poverty and strict patriarchy. Using empirical data from biographical interviews with Afghan women from urban households in Kabul, Herat, and Jalalabad, the article questions how gender as social relation and gender as difference is lived and experienced among the urban poor in Afghanistan. Looking at urban livelihoods through the lens of feminist geography helps to better understand the gendered spaces of home and the outside world, of households as sites of security and violence, and of urban contexts and ethnic affiliations. The approach allows for reflection on women’s subjectivities and their own understandings of gender inequality and injustice. Examining the gendered geographies in urban Afghanistan shows how social difference is lived under conditions of patriarchy and poverty and how women’s agency contributes to the livelihoods of their households. 


Keywords: Afghanistan, Gender, women, urban poverty, marriage systems, livelihood security

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2014

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