Love and money in an age of neoliberalism: Gender, work, and single motherhood in postrevolutionary Nicaragua

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Abstract

Based on qualitative research conducted in 1999 and 2001 with a group of single mothers in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, this paper examines the contradictory impacts of neoliberalism on work, based on the understanding that economic restructuring can generate both crisis and a space for changes in gender identities. By focusing on the broader picture of women's work and on the intersections between paid and unpaid work, it discusses what happens to these intersections in times of intense political and economic change. Despite the hardships caused by neoliberalism, it appears that work is a site in which gender ideologies can be challenged. The paper has four main sections. First, it explores the ways in which certain cultural processes are intensified under neoliberalism which affects the relationship between constructions of masculinity and femininity. Second, it assesses the impact of neoliberalism on domestic work and the implications of this for GAD (gender and development) understandings of the double burden and of how the balance of women's paid and unpaid work changes under neoliberalism. Third, it examines the ways in which hegemonic understandings of femininities and motherhood and revolutionary legacies can be resistant to the neoliberal present. Finally, it discusses how work under neoliberalism can be a site of female empowerment or self-esteem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-322
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2005

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