ABSTRACT

The concluding chapter is dedicated to gender relations and gender differences in the formal and informal economies of Ašmjany. Since cross-border petty trade has turned out to be a predominantly female economic activity, such issues as the gender segregation of the labour market, gender and strategies of livelihoods and female resources of empowerment have inevitably appeared in the course of this study. This chapter attempts to consider three main issues. Firstly, departing from the Ašmjany case, a broader picture is drawn of how everyday economic practices in Belarusian small towns are organized in accordance with gender roles and gender segregation. Secondly, a more nuanced reading is given of the general idea about women as victims of patriarchal structures which dominate life in post-Soviet countries. Through the case of shuttle traders the specific resources of empowerment and agency which post-Soviet women possess is elaborated upon. However, it is also argued that female emancipation in Belarus (and to some extent in other postSoviet countries) often has a forced character and is determined by the literal and symbolic lack of men in women’s lives. Thirdly, the issue of solidarity is considered along with the boundaries in the community of petty traders and the process of how this community is constructed at the moment of border crossing. The data of this study is limited by the primary aim of the research; therefore, the conclusions are not always generalizable. Nevertheless, the purpose of this chapter is to outline some significant issues in relation to gendered economies in contemporary Belarus which can be developed and verified in further empirical studies.