chapter
18 Pages

Introduction

Gender relations established during Soviet socialism have significantly influenced the gender order in contemporary Belarus as well as in other post-socialist countries. Through the case of shuttle traders the specific resources of empowerment and agency which post-Soviet women possess is elaborated upon. After the collapse of the Soviet system the socialist gender order began transforming. The macro-studies of gender relations in the Belarusian labour market correspond to fieldwork observations in this chapter. Amjany shuttle trading is a business carried out by women, with the help of women and for women. Though female resources of petty trading might seem insignificant in comparison with more traditional assets such as money or useful connections. Besides extended families, informal activities were also an important means of economic stability for Amjany women. The absent men phenomenon causes what can be designated as the forced emancipation of Amjany women.