DS0803 -

Gendered division of domestic and parental work in gratuated couples – DISCORD

Division of Economic, Domestic and Parental Labor in Couples in Dakar

The aim of this project is to contribute to the study of gendered division of economic, domestic, and parental work in Dakar households. It is focused on working married women, working and with a higher education level with the underlying assumption that they are pioneers in different areas. Still, the project is also interested in other categories of women, to better test this hypothesis. Declined in three complementary research axes, it relies on a mixed methodology and a plural research team.

Studying the gendered division of labor to understand the gender dynamics and their transformation in West African capitals.

The project is a direct follow-up to the exploratory project «Articulating work with family life in Dakar« (ARTIFAM, GIS-Gender, 2014-15), that gave rise to 20 interviews carried out with women from diverse social backgrounds in Dakar. The aim of this new project is to broaden the scope of the analysis by producing a quantitative survey that allows comparisons with data from the program «Families, Gender and Activities« (FAGEAC, ANR-10-SUDS-005-01, 2011-14) focused on Cotonou, Lomé, and Ouagadougou. <br />The project seeks to address three complementary research issues. First, it aims at reconstituting the school pathways of the higher educated women, their motivations to pursue long studies, and then to impose themselves as professionals. The second axis questions the way in which once married and mothers, higher educated and active women manage to articulate family tasks and professional investment. Subject of scientific and political concerns in western countries, this issue remains a virtually non-existent topic of social, economic and research policies in sub-Saharan Africa. The social and demographic changes of recent decades in West African capitals suggest, however, that this is a fundamental issue in these social spaces. Finally, the aim of the project is to study, in various ways, the gender socialization that takes place within the family, another process determining the formation of gender inequalities.

The project crosses quantitative and qualitative materials, to underline the main statistical trends and to draw a comparison between favored and less favored social families and understand the social dynamics at work especially in higher educated couples. The team first performed secondary analysis of existing data, focusing on recent surveys (post-2010) that included questions on the domestic organization (ESPS 2011) and gender relations (DHS 2011), or on work and employment of women, especially those who graduated university (RGPHAE 2013 and ENES 2015). In Dakar, the team also designed and conducted a cross-sectional quantitative survey (called FORTE for Women and Work-Family Organization) with around 1,200 households and 1,000 women, which will allow comparisons with the data of FAGEAC program on which it relied. Lastly, biographic interviews were conducted with women mostly and, on a more ad hoc basis, with couples and men from different social backgrounds.

The project was led by a team of French and Senegalese researchers, junior and senior, from different disciplines and various methodological traditions. It also associated, in a so-called advisory committee, various local and international structures and organizations.

While family life (union and maternity) can represent obstacles to the economic activity of women, working has nevertheless become less the option than the norm: it concerns, in Dakar, most married women. However, the exercise of paid work does not free women from domestic and family care work which is socially their responsibility and which, depending on the profile of the women and that of the household in which they live, can be particularly heavy. With the absence of adjustments from the spouses, the main strategy of women is to delegate all or part of the domestic work using auxiliary labor (family, domestic or outsourced), mainly female, low, or unpaid. Due to the conservatism of men, little questioned by women, the emancipation of higher educated women through work is ultimately only possible by keeping other women in a relationship of inequality.

The work of linking quantitative and qualitative data has been initiated but remains largely to be fulfilled. The objective is thus to feed the interpretation of quantitative data with qualitative materials and to operate a critical back and forth between quantitative and qualitative tools. The DISCOrD project intended to continue the comparative work initiated within the FAGEAC program. With the introduction of Dakar, another capital of the Sahel, the aim was to enrich the comparisons between countries where the paid work of women is an old and strong practice, such as Togo and Benin, and countries where the participation of women in the market economy grew later, like Burkina Faso or Senegal. The research has mainly focused on Lomé and Dakar (and more marginally on Ouagadougou). One of the objectives for the future is to deepen the reflection on the trans-societal aspects of gender inequalities, including African capitals from FAGEAC program, but also Western capitals. An expanded research network, bringing together researchers working in the North and in the South, with the aim to draw a new international/European program is being set up.

A diversified strategy for disseminating the results has been developed and has given rise to a wealthy scientific production and promotion: a collective book and a special journal issue are being prepared; scientific and “popular” articles have been or will be published; the team participated in and organized several scientific events and seminars; Finally, several meetings and workshops for reporting the results to local (ministries)and international decision-makers (UN-Women, UNESCO, UNICEF, etc.) and to civil society (NGOs, project investigators) took place. The data collected are the support for research training activities : eight dissertations at Master 2 level (sociology/statistics) have thus been produced; a PhD in sociology and an HDR (sociology/demography) are in progress. The documentation of quantitative databases and their metadata is another valuation of the work accomplished.

The aim of this project is to contribute to the study of gendered division of domestic and parental work in Senegalese couples. It will focus on women living and working in Dakar who are university graduates, with the aim of uncovering the social effects of their penetration into domains that today are still essentially male preserves. The project is a direct follow-up to the exploratory project "reconciling work with family life in Dakar" (ARTIFAM, GIS-Gender, 2014-15), that gave rise to 20 qualitative interviews carried out with women from diverse social backgrounds in Dakar. The aim of this new project is to broaden the scope of the analysis by interviewing men and women and by producing a quantitative survey that will allow comparisons with data from the program "Families, Gender and Activities" (FAGEAC, ANR-10-SUDS-005-01, 2011-14). The objective is to highlight the situation in Dakar, but also to develop international comparisons, first with others capitals of West Africa providing a basis for a methodological, theoretical and political debate on trans-societal aspects of gender inequality. Secondly, the project will serve as a springboard for developing new initiatives in the future, focusing in particular on the comparative aspects of research on gender inequalities. The team aims to create a largest network on these issues by drawing comparisons with recent Northern research and by going beyond the traditional dichotomy between North and South. The project seeks to address three complementary research issues: (1) Career and profiles of working university graduate women (2) Social and sexual division of work within university graduate couples (3) Educational models and gender socialization. Through the combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis, this research will offer a survey of major statistical trends and a comparison between privileged and less privileged social groups, and enable a finer understanding of the social dynamics at work, in particular in highly educated couples. Initially, the team will conduct secondary analysis of existing data, and then will design and implement, in Dakar, a new quantitative survey. These data will enable comparisons with the datasets of the FAGEAC program. Biographical interviews will be carried out with couples, mainly university graduates, but also from other social backgrounds. The research will be spread over 36 months. This extended duration is justified by the nature of the project, the aim of is to produce wide-ranging quantitative data and in-depth qualitative data (through interviews and direct observation). It will be conducted by a team of junior and senior French and Senegalese researchers, from different disciplines (demography, sociology, anthropology, statistical sciences) and varied methodological profiles (quantitative/qualitative) that will ensure suitable and valid conditions for successfully carrying out a project based on the interfacing of methods and fields. The project aims to shed a new scientific light on issues that have strong social, political and economic implications for contemporary African societies: women's activities, reconciling work and family life, parenthood, childhood and education. The team will thus contribute to academic debate at national and transnational levels, and disseminate its results to the scientific community, to policy makers and to civil society, by developing a range of communication tools: scientific and general public papers; working papers and online newsletter; film-portraits and CD-Roms; organization of scientific events and meetings with different audiences. The wealth of material collected and the analyses to be carried out will offer the coordinator new professional opportunities, including the writing of an Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (qualification prerequisite for the rank of professor).

Project coordination

Laure MOGUEROU (Laboratoire population-Environnement-Développement/Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LPED/IRD Laboratoire population-Environnement-Développement/Institut de Recherche pour le Développement

Help of the ANR 109,249 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2016 - 36 Months

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