Middle Eastern Women and the Invisible Economy

By Richard A. Lobban | Go to book overview

PART I
Strategies for Survival: Women at the Margins

How do women function when survival is the main mission? Anne Jennings tells us about the clever strategies devised by Nubian women in the shadow economy of southern Egypt. They are remarkably productive and control significant wealth, generated in part from tourism. Her observations confront those who barely perceive such women's presence and who imagine that they have no income to control.

Barbara Michael discovers a very intricate system for marketing dairy products among the Baggara women of the western Sudan, who survive within an economy of rural nomadism. They are highly conscious of market costs, rewards, and pricing. They are far more productive and aware than one might imagine.

Delores Walters looks at the margins to describe the North Yemeni women of slave origins, the akhdam who survive through handicrafts and by performing tasks that others refuse. Her access to this unique community is penetrating and moving. Her work makes for intriguing interfaces among models of race, ethnicity, and the "invisible" economy.

Nada Mustafa Ali documents the lives of women in Atbara, Sudan, who are at the periphery of the economy and who are suffering from great hardships in the contemporary Sudan. Despite their heavy burdens, they achieve survival.

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