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Gender Contestation in Global Value Chains

Gender Contestation in Global Value Chains: drivers of change and diverse outcomes in cocoa-chocolate sourcing

Date: Wednesday 9th November
Time: 6-7.30pm
Room: Graham Wallas Room, Old Building
Maps and directions to LSE can be found here.
Chair: Anouk Patel-Campillo

Gender analysis has long unpacked the unsung role women play in agriculture. However, this has often focused on a gender division of labour between household and commercial production for arms-length markets. Integration into global value chains brings another dimension, also requiring analysis of tensions between global drivers and locally embedded gender norms that can play out differently across locations. Global (re)production network (GrPN) analysis draws on Global Value Chain and feminist political economy to provide a framework for examining how value chain participation can reconfigure gendered divisions between production and social reproduction. Applied to small-scale agriculture, contestation can be multi-faceted involving diverse global and local drivers and actors: commercial, civil society and public. This paper analyses these tensions drawing on a case study of cocoa-chocolate sourcing from Ghana. It adapts a GrPN approach to examine the rationale for an intervention by a leading chocolate manufacturer to support socio-economic sustainability in cocoa farming, incorporating a gender focus. It compares this across two cocoa communities, examining how and why gendered contestation and outcomes evolved differently at local levels. It argues that whilst value chains can disrupt embedded gender norms with potential benefits for women, they also risk re-creating gendered inequalities across the broader commercial value chain (rather than small-holder) terrain.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Kate Steward (k.steward@lse.ac.uk).

Stephanie Barrientos 

Stephanie Barrientos is Professor of Global Development at The University of Manchester. She has researched and published widely on gender, agribusiness, employment, trade and labour standards, corporate social responsibility, fair and ethical trade. She has undertaken research in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. She led research on Gender and Ethical Trade in African Horticulture (funded by DFID) and led the UK Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Impact Assessment (2003-2006).  She coordinated studies for Cadbury Plc Mapping Sustainable Cocoa Production in Ghana and India. This informed the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership (UK£45m) followed by Mondelez Cocoa Life (US$4000m)  to support cocoa farmers, as well as Cadbury’s move towards Fairtrade. She co-coordinated with Professor Gary Gereffi (Duke University) the DFID funded international research network Capturing the Gains: Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Value Chains linking researchers in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and USA (www.capturingthegains.org).  She has advised a large number of companies, NGOs and government organisations. Stephanie has a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2013-16) examining Transformation of Work and Gender in Global Value Chains.




Stephanie Ware Barrientos