chapter  4
27 Pages

Gender and the rural community

WithJo Little

The community clearly constitutes an important site for the organisation of gender roles and as such a valuable focus in terms of the documentation of the detail of men and women's rural lives. This chapter describes at the variation between women and men's activities within the rural community; their differing levels and forms of involvement in the community as a social institution and the importance they attach to this involvement. It presents a very 'one-dimensional' interpretation of the rural community in drawing out some of the key associations with gender identity and difference. The chapter focuses on the issue of marginalisation and on the fact that women (and men) who do not conform to the dominant expectations surrounding rural gender identities may remain 'other' to mainstream village society and community. It outlines the gendered nature of community roles and highlighted the major contribution made by women to a range of essential and non-essential tasks within the village.