chapter  8
13 Pages


WithJo Little

This chapter argues that women on low incomes or caught in the 'benefits trap' will have very different opportunities and lifestyles from those middle-class women with professional employment and their own car. The focus on rural women as one of the so-called 'neglected rural others' has demonstrated the lack of tolerance surrounding the construction of rural femininity and the persistence of traditional assumptions about the gender identity of rural women. The highly conventional nature of women's domestic roles, however, presupposes equally traditional masculine gender identities within the rural family. Changes in the patterns of employment, for example, with more people working from home, may be having an effect on the gender division of labour within the rural household. The chapter considers the ways in which research on rural lifestyles and gender identities may be carried out and, in particular, the construction and adoption of feminist methodologies for researching rural gender issues.