This article approaches economic autonomy for Rendille and Ariaal women by illustrating the ways in which those in the recently settled agricultural community of Songa have control over resources and opportunities to make and control money. Several factors related to Songa's agricultural and market oriented economy give women greater economic autonomy than their pastoral counterparts. While Rendille and Ariaal sometimes disagree over whether women have particular economic advantages in Songa, there are some underlying trends. Women are acknowledged as being able to control crops they raise on their allotted gardens, much in the same way they control the distribution of milk. The division of labor in the agricultural economy does not prevent women from engaging in all phases of production, nor is as much interhousehold cooperation required as in the pastoral economy. Although women must still rely on men for access to resources, what they can do once they obtain these resources requires less input from labor directed by elders. In addition to what informants say and my own reading of the economic relations between women and men, ethnographic data suggest a pattern in which women make economic and social gains when they sell products that are traditionally considered under their control.
Sedentarization and Market Integration: New Opportunities for Rendille and Ariaal Women of Northern Kenya
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Kevin Smith; Sedentarization and Market Integration: New Opportunities for Rendille and Ariaal Women of Northern Kenya. Human Organization 1 December 1998; 57 (4): 459–468. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/humo.57.4.16n21k1123521095
Download citation file: