(Paper) - Throughout the Horn of Africa (HoA), war and the cross-border movement of peoples, alongside periodic drought and rapid rural to urban migration have all resulted in the massive expansion of women in the informal economy.
While in some parts of the world this expansion has had positive effects on social and economic development, in many cases in the Horn, the proliferation of female populations in the informal sector over the past three decades has not led to any significant change in terms of their position in society. State collapse and the failure of nation building projects across the HoA have provoked the emergence of new (and in some cases old) hurdles to women’s advancement. This includes the reversion to traditional structures and the rise of new, more militant forms of authority that have materialized to take advantage of the space provided by the breakdown of state. Consequently, women find themselves caught between the pressures of globalization and modernization on the one hand, and conservatism and tradition on the other. They are trapped somewhere between positive forms of role change produced by their swelling numbers in the informal economy and stagnation. As other research has pointed out, theyare empowered and impoverishedii and lauded and castigated at once.
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Submitted by Gulied Ahmed Jama