Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market

Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market

Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market

Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market

Synopsis

Queen bee. Worker bees. Busy as a bee. These phrases have shaped perceptions of women for centuries, but how did these stereotypes begin? Who are the women who keep bees and what can we learn from them? Beeconomy examines the fascinating evolution of the relationship between women and bees around the world. From Africa to Australia to Asia, women have participated in the pragmatic aspects of honey hunting and in the more advanced skills associated with beekeeping as hive technology has advanced through the centuries.

Synthesizing the various aspects of hive-related products, such as beewax and cosmetics, as well as the more specialized skills of queen production and knowledge-based economies of research and science, noted bee expert Tammy Horn documents how and why women should consider being beekeepers. The women profiled in the book suggest ways of managing careers, gender discrimination, motherhood, marriage, and single-parenting -- all while enjoying the community created by women who work with honey bees. Horn finds in beekeeping an opportunity for a new sustainable economy, one that takes into consideration environment, children, and family needs.

Beeconomy not only explores globalization, food history, gender studies, and politics; it is a collective call to action.

Excerpt

Women beekeepers have been shortchanged in the beekeeping
history books when they actually have made many significant
contributions through the years.

—Joe Graham, editor of American Bee Journal, 1979

I have been asked, why write a book about women and bees? The subtext of the question is that we surely do not need a book about women beekeepers. Nor do I offer any new beekeeping secrets. I am certainly not the best writer on this topic, and neither is my gender considered adequate qualification.

But, with the United States losing one in every three hives of honey bees and Central Europe losing one in four, more women should consider keeping bees. If we have more beekeepers, regardless of gender, perhaps the immediate crisis of bee loss will be addressed and our agricultural sectors will have appropriate pollination to feed the world’s citizens.

Colony losses aside, women have much at stake when bee losses are as high as 30 percent. They often have the most direct access to food eaten by family members. They generally live longer than their male counterparts. And women continue to be paid inequitably regardless of location, education, and religion. Some women may . . .

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