This is the most important paper I’ve ever written, the culmination of a decade’s work on social norms, & it’s just been accepted by Gender & Society!!
All rejected!! 😫
But I kept on trying... 🙇♀️
And I was especially keen for this paper to be accepted there, hopefully encouraging more studies in this field! 😊🙌🏞🏙
Studies of social change typically look at individual- or country-level characteristics
This omits the #places we live in.
In subnational comparisons, we see faster social change in cities.
And what does it tell us about the drivers of social change?
Gender inequalities are largest, and slowest to close, in rural areas.
So could more female employment in rural areas -> more support for equality?
What we really need, perhaps, is a labour demand shock in rural areas.
A big spike in female employment!
Then we can see if this shifts gender relations.
So how might we create/ find that?
As labour costs rise in China, garment manufacturing has moved to neighbouring countries: Cambodia, & its cheap rural regions
Mostly employing women!
The perrrfect place to explore if rising rural female employment -> gender equality? 🤔
"That's poorly paid, low status work, ofc it wont erode inequality".
So besides doing research in villages, I also did research in the city, to see how the impact of garment work was mediated by rural/urban context. 🏙️
Comparative rural-urban research!
So let's interview rural-urban migrants, and listen to their life history narratives, about how their beliefs have changed through migrating to the city!
Lived in the village & the city.
Interviewed long-term urban & rural residents
As well as circular & permanent migrants.
Would love to see others use this methodology, to explore the causes of #subnational variation!
I chose Cambodia *BECAUSE* of this labor demand shock
I wanted to see if I was right!
But was I?
I was not correct!
Mass female employment is NOT enough to erode gender inequalities
Something else is happening in cities:
Mixing with diverse others, sharing ideas, seeing alternatives, questioning established practices, & bitching about the patriarchy!!
"That's just Cambodia & Zambia".
"No external validity"
So that's why I then tried *really* hard to get funds for a Ugandan sociologist to come to Britain, to do a comparative rural-urban study of gender inequality here!!
Are the same processes at work?
THE FUNDERS DID NOT SHARE OUR ENTHUSIASM FOR THAT PROJECT!
Though I maintain it would have been absolutely epic!
But I think this topic is hugely revealing yet wildly under-explored
As you can see, I really do NOT mind being proven wrong!
So if you're interested, slide into my DMs, & let's chat about the causes of subnational variation!!
We can also use comparative qualitative work to understand the causes of subnational variation in support for:
- LGBT rights
- racial equality
All these are often more supported in cities.
you’re more likely to see MANY women demonstrating equal competence in socially valued roles
& discuss this with others
So become emboldened to experiment more, to transgress, to push back, to disrupt inequalities!
In interconnected, heterogeneous, densely populated cities,
You’re more likely to see successful strikes, protests
And collectively critique established practices.
So this *may* explain higher demands for accountability in 🌃