Accepted paper:

Value chain dynamics in the making of a rural industry: Golden Spiderweb (Private) Limited and rural women contract workers in South Central Zimbabwe

Authors:

Sibanengi Ncube (University of the Free State)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the nature of the relationship between rural women of Chirumhanzu district in South Central Zimbabwe and a subcontracting firm, Golden Spiderweb, which acted as a link to global markets, and how this impacted on the women's livelihoods.

Paper long abstract:

The paper proposes to examine how the women of Chirumhanzu district in South Central Zimbabwe were integrated into global value chains through home-based production of knitwear garments for the export market. This is set against the background of the concepts of globalization and the 'informalization' of production and labour markets that gained currency in the late 1980s and 1990s. The paper examines the nature of the relationship between rural women and a subcontracting firm, Golden Spiderweb, which acted as a link to global markets, and how this impacted on the women's livelihoods. The firm boasted of a small core of formal employees, predominantly male, and relied on women out-workers who were operating from their homes, and were paid using the piece rate. A sample of such home-based women outworkers of diverse backgrounds provides a full and rich understanding of the position and experiences of subcontracted women knitters in rural Zimbabwe. Because of the 'invisibility' of home-based workers in official statistics, the study relies heavily on interviews in addition to primary sources from the company's private archives. The focus on rural women allows the paper to investigate gender dynamics in the operation of these chains. Key words: Global, value chains, gender, subcontracting

back to panel B4
Stream:
Inclusive development?
Integrating SMEs in global value chains and the challenge of inclusive development [paper]