Advertisement

Urban Forum

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 113–130 | Cite as

Ingrained Inequalities? Deconstructing Gendered Spaces in the Informal Waste Economy of Nigerian Cities

  • Thaddeus Chidi Nzeadibe
  • Onyanta Adama
Article

Abstract

As the debates on the definition, scope and applicability of the terms ‘informal sector’ and, in more recent years, the ‘informal economy’ continue, there is a growing interest in the heterogeneity, dynamism and complexity of the sector. This has necessitated a focus on internal differentiation and social relations of power within the informal economy. Gender plays an important role in shaping how men and women participate in the informal economy, while systematic inequalities between women and men are known to pervade many informal livelihoods. Informal Solid Waste Management (ISWM) is a major livelihood activity for the most vulnerable urban groups including women. Using a mix of primary and secondary data sources, this study examined the pattern of gender participation in Nigerian informal waste economy. It notes that the socio-political space in the Nigerian waste economy is dominated by males, to the virtual exclusion of females. Findings indicate that gender differentials and exclusion of women usually manifests, often from primordial socio-cultural influences. Being intimately tied to sheer physicality, waste picking is often characterized by palpable competitions, tensions and conflicts. However, the paper acknowledges the determination of women to overcome the limitations imposed on them by cultural norms and the ability to carve a niche in a male-dominated activity. In a broader context, the paper interrogates ramifications of gendered spaces in the global South. It argues that unequal participation is a corollary of gendered spaces and concludes that without gender equality, the vulnerability of female informal urban-based livelihoods increases.

Keywords

Gendered spaces Informal economy Nigeria Inequality Waste picking 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper was produced within the framework of the 2013 African Guest Researchers Scholarship Programme (AGRP), hosted by Dr. Onyanta Adama of the Urban Dynamics Cluster, the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI), Uppsala, Sweden (September 01-November 29 2013). The authors gratefully acknowledge the NAI and its researchers for providing the facilities and conducive environment for the study, and for insightful comments made during an internal seminar where the manuscript was first presented. Authors are also grateful to Uchenna Ochege of University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria for cartographic assistance.

References

  1. Adama, O. (2012). Urban livelihoods and social networks: emerging relations in informal recycling in Kaduna, Nigeria. Urban Forum, 23(4), 449–466. doi: 10.1007/s12132-012-9159-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adeyemi, A. S., Olorunfemi, J. F., & Adewoye, T. O. (2001). Waste scavenging in Third World cities: a case study in Ilorin, Nigeria. The Environmentalist, 21(2), 93–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Afon, A. O. (2007). Informal sector initiative in the primary sub-system of urban solid waste management in Lagos, Nigeria. Habitat International, 31(2), 193–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Afon, A. (2012). A survey of operational characteristics, socioeconomic and health effects of scavenging activity in Lagos, Nigeria. Waste Management & Research, 30(7), 664–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Agunwamba, J. C. (2003). Analysis of scavengers’ activities and recycling in some cities of Nigeria. Environmental Management, 32(1), 116–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Atieno, R. (2006). Female participation in the labour market: the case of the informal sector in Kenya. AERC Research Paper 157. Nairobi :African Economic Research Consortium. Retrieved on 12:10:13 from http://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/bitstream/handle/123456789/2668/RP%20157.pdf?sequence=1
  7. Bhaskar, A., & Chikarmane, P. (2012). The story of waste and its reclaimers: organising waste collectors for better lives and livelihoods. Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 55(4), 595–619.Google Scholar
  8. Borja, J., & Castells, M. (1996). Local and global: management of cities in the Information Age. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  9. British Council Nigeria (2012) Gender in Nigeria Report 2012: improving the lives of girls and women in Nigeria (2nd edition). Retrieved on 15:09:13 from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/67333/Gender-Nigeria2012.pdf
  10. Chamane, M. (2009). South Africa’s waste pickers: creating jobs and fighting poverty. The Workplace Vol. 33(2), 22-24. [Online]. Retrieved on 24 February 2010 from: http://www.inclusivecities.org/pdfs/SOUTH%20AFRICA%27S%20WASTE%20PICKERS%5B1%5D.doc
  11. Chen, M.A. (2005). Rethinking the informal economy: linkages with the formal economy and the formal regulatory environment. UNU-WIDER Research Paper No. 2005/10. United Nations University (UNU). Retrieved on 30:09:13 from http://www.wider.unu.edu/publications/working-papers/research-papers/2005/en_GB/rp2005-10/
  12. Coles, C. (1991). Hausa women’s work in a declining economy: Kaduna, Nigeria, 1980-1985. In C. Coles & B. Mack (Eds.), Hausa women in the twentieth century (pp. pp.3–26). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  13. Conell, R. W. (2001). The social organisation of masculinity. In S. M. Whitehead & F. J. Barret (Eds.), The masculinities reader. Blackwell, Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dias, S. (2012).Waste and development—perspectives from the ground. Field Actions Science Reports .[Online], Special Issue 6, 1-6.[Online]. Retrieved on 6 August 2012 from: http://factsreports.revues.org/1615.
  15. Dias, S. and Fernandez, L. (2012).Waste pickers—a gendered perspective. In: United Nations Development Programme. Powerful synergies: Gender Equality, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability, 163-165. Retrieved on 14:07:13 from http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/gender/Gender%20and%20Environment/Powerful-Synergies.pdf
  16. Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. (2006). National Gender Policy Federal Republic of Nigeria: situation analysis/framework. Abuja: Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.Google Scholar
  17. Foster, S., Dixey, R., Oberlin, A., & Nkhama, E. (2012). ‘Sweeping is women’s work’: employment and empowerment opportunities for women through engagement in solid waste management in Tanzania and Zambia. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 50(4), 203–217. doi: 10.1080/14635240.2012.703392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grant, R. (2013). Gendered Spaces of Informal Entrepreneurship in Soweto, South Africa. Urban Geography, 34(1), 86–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hart, K. (1973). Informal income opportunities and urban employment in Ghana. Journal of Modern African Studies, 11(1), 61–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huysman, M. (1994). Waste picking as a survival strategy for women in Indian cities. Environment & Urbanization, 6(2), 155–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Inclusive Cities (2012a). Upgrading the livelihoods of informal waste pickers: the SWacH cooperative model.Google Scholar
  22. Inclusive Cities (2012b).“Women Simply Want Equality”: interview with Maria Mônica da Silva and Viviane Mertig of MNCR . Retrieved on 12:09:13 from http://www.inclusivecities.org/blog/partner-post-women-simply-want-equality-interview-with-maria-monica-da-silva-and-viviane-mertig-of-mncr/
  23. Inclusive Cities (2013). Gender & Waste Project: empowerment of women waste pickers in Latin America & Brazil. Retrieved on 12:09:13 from http://www.inclusivecities.org/blog/gender-waste-project-empowerment-of-women-waste-pickers-in-latin-america-brazil/
  24. International Labour Organisation (2013). Promoting green jobs through the inclusion of informal waste pickers in Chile. Retrieved on 09:08:13 from http://www.ilo.org/empent/units/green-jobs-programme/about-the-programme/WCMS_216961/lang--en/index.htm
  25. International Labour Organisation. (2002a). Decent work and the informal economy. Geneva: ILO Publications.Google Scholar
  26. International Labour Organisation. (2002b). Women and men in the informal economy: a statistical picture. Geneva: ILO Publications.Google Scholar
  27. Johnston-Anumonwo, I., & Doane, D. L. (2011). Globalization, economic crisis and Africa’s informal economy women workers. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 32, 8–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9493.2011.00416.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kabeer, N. (1994). Reversed realities: gender hierarchies in development thought. LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Laurie, N., Dwyer, C., Holloway, S., & Smith, F. (1999). Geographies of new femininities. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  30. Lindell, I. (2010). Introduction: the changing politics of informality—collective organising, alliances and scales of engagement. In I. Lindell (Ed.), Africa’s informal workers: collective agency, alliances and transnational organising in urban Africa (pp. 1–30). London/Uppsala: Zed Books and the Nordic Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  31. Lloyd‐Evans, S. (2008). Geographies of the contemporary informal sector in the global south: gender, employment relationships and social protection. Geography Compass, 2(6), 1885–1906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Madsen, C. A. (2006). Feminizing waste: waste-picking as an empowerment opportunity for women and children in impoverished communities. Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy, 17(1), 165–200.Google Scholar
  33. Magaji, J., & Dakyes, S. P. (2011). An assessment of socio-economic impact of waste scavenging as a means of poverty alleviation in Gwagwalada, Abuja. Confluence Journal of Environmental Studies, 6, 42–56. Retrieved from http://www.journalhome.com/cjes.Google Scholar
  34. Magidimisha, H. M., & Gordon, S. (2013). Profiling South African gender inequality in informal self-employment. Journal of Gender Studies. doi: 10.1080/09589236.2013.841569.Google Scholar
  35. Manhart, A., Osibanjo, O., Aderinto, A., and Prakash, S. (2011). Informal e-waste management in Lagos, Nigeria—socio-economic impacts and feasibility of international recycling co-operations. Final report of component 3 of the UNEP SBC E-waste Africa Project, Öko-Institut e.V. Retrieved on 10:09:13 from http://www.oeko.de/oekodoc/1371/2011-008-en.pdf.
  36. Marchand, M. H., & Runyan, A. S. (2000). In M. H. Marchand & A. S. Runyan (Eds.), Gender and global restructuring (Sightings, sites and resistances). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. McDowell, L. and Sharp, J.P. (Eds)(1997). Space, gender, knowledge: feminist readings. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  38. Meagher, K. (2010a). Identity economics: social networks and the informal economy in Nigeria. New York: James Currey.Google Scholar
  39. Meagher, K. (2010b). The tangled web of associational life: urban governance and the politics of popular livelihoods in Nigeria. Urban Forum, 21(3), 299–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mehra, R., Du, T. T. N., Nghia, N. X., Lam, N. N., Chuyen, T. T. K., Tuan, B. A., Tran, P. G., & Nhan, N. T. (1996). Women in waste collection and recycling in Hochiminh City. Population and Environment, 18(2), 187–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muoghalu, L. N., & Okoye, A. C. (2010). Solid waste management and economic growth: a preliminary report of a case study of scavenging activity in Anambra State. Tropical Built Environment Journal., 1(1), 73–82.Google Scholar
  42. Myers, G. (2011). African cities: alternative visions of urban theory and practice. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  43. Nzeadibe, T. C. (2009a). Solid waste reforms and informal recycling in Enugu urban area, Nigeria. Habitat International, 33(1), 93–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nzeadibe, T. C. (2009b). Development drivers of waste recycling in Nsukka urban area, Southeastern Nigeria. Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, 3(12), 137–149.Google Scholar
  45. Nzeadibe, T. C., & Anyadike, R. N. C. (2012). Social participation in city governance and urban livelihoods: constraints to the informal recycling economy in Aba, Nigeria. City, Culture and Society, 3(4), 313–325. doi: 10.1016/j.ccs.2012.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nzeadibe, T. C., & Eziuzor, O. J. (2006). Waste scavenging and recycling in Onitsha urban area, Nigeria. CIWM Scientific and Technical Review, 7(1), 26–31.Google Scholar
  47. Nzeadibe, T. C., & Iwuoha, H. C. (2008). Informal waste recycling in Lagos, Nigeria. Communications in Waste & Resource Management, 9(1), 24–30.Google Scholar
  48. Nzeadibe, T. C., Anyadike, R. N. C., & Njoku-Tony, R. F. (2012). A mixed methods approach to vulnerability and quality of life assessment of waste picking in urban Nigeria. Applied Research in Quality of Life., 7(4), 351–370. doi: 10.1007/s11482-012-9171-0.Google Scholar
  49. Nzeadibe, T.C. and Adama, O.(2013). Improved recycling performance: policy options for Nigerian cities. Policy Notes, 2013/2, pp.1-4. Uppsala, Sweden: The Nordic Africa Institute. Available at http://nai.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:653251/FULLTEXT01.pdf
  50. Obeng-Odoom, F. (2013). Governance for pro-poor urban development: lessons from Ghana. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Oguntoyinbo, O. O. (2012). Informal waste management system in Nigeria and barriers to an inclusive modern waste management system: a review. Public Health, 126, 441–447. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.01.030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rai, S.M. (2002). Gender and the political economy of development. Polity PressGoogle Scholar
  53. Rouse, J.R. & Ali, S.M. (2001).Waste pickers in Dhaka: using the sustainable livelihoods approach—key findings and field notes. Loughborough, University, UK :Water, Engineering and Development CentreGoogle Scholar
  54. Sassen, S. (2000). The global city: strategic site, new frontier. In E. F. Esin (Ed.), Democracy, citizenship and the global city. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Scheinberg, A., Muller, M., & Tasheva, E. L. (1999). Gender and waste: integrating gender into community waste management. Gouda: UWEP Working paper 1. WASTE.Google Scholar
  56. Siphambe, H., & Motswapong, M. (2010). Female participation in the labour market of Botswana: results from the 2005/06 labour force survey data. Botswana Journal of Economics, 7(11), 65–78.Google Scholar
  57. Spatscheck, C. (2012). Socio-spatial approaches to social work. Social Work & Society International Online Journal 10(1). Retrieved on 10:11:13 from https://www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/314/660
  58. Ukoje, J. E. (2012). Informal sector solid waste collection and recycling in Zaria, Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering B, 1(2012), 649–655. Retrieved from http://www.davidpublishing.com/davidpublishing/Upfile/7/3/2012/2012070385389737.pdf.Google Scholar
  59. Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organising. (2013a). WIEGO Newsletter, August 2013. Retrieved on 19:09:13 from http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/resources/files/WIEGO-e-news-Jan2013-Jun2013.pdf
  60. Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organising. (2013b). WIEGO Annual Report April 2012 – March 2013. Retrieved on 21:11:13 from http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/publications/files/WIEGO-Annual-Report-2012-2013.pdf
  61. Youngs, G. (2000). Breaking patriarchal bonds: demythologizing the public/private. In M. H. Marchand & A. S. Runyan (Eds.), Gender and global restructuring (Sightings, sites and resistances). London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria
  2. 2.The Nordic Africa InstituteUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations