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The gender division of labor in fish processing in Lake Chapala. A source of bargaining power Public Deposited

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  • Lake Chapala’s fisheries have been the support of an important economic activity for hundreds of years. At the end of the XIX century, in addition to the fishers, the processing industry employed hundreds of families in the drying and salting of fish. The later introduction of carpe and tilapia forced a change in the market structure, including the processing-value-adding-activities. Currently, filleting-fish is a successful growing industry, which employs mostly women from the communities around the lake. This paper aims to identify the factors influencing the division of labor in fish-processing and the determinants of bargaining power for women. Fieldwork was carried out in three communities riparian to Lake Chapala (Jamay, Petatán, LaPalma), during 2015-2017, using a survey strategy based on questionnaires and formal and informal interviews to obtain qualitative and quantitative data. Results: fish-processing as a labor market opportunity for women is a source of bargaining power, is flexible in working hours, and a constant and reliable source of income, unlike fishing. In Petatán, fish-processing is a women’s dominated activity, highly valued, with the largest average income, complementary to household. Jamay has male(20%) and female(80%) fish-processors, fish-processing is their only source of income, and is considered an activity for single mothers (35%) or those who cannot get better jobs. In both communities, married women’s contribution to household income depends on their husband daily earnings ranging between 25-75%. In LaPalma, fish-processing is a male-dominated activity, where women do not dare to work among the young fileting workers, who are breadwinners.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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