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The Gender Question on China's Second Continent

Sat, August 12, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 514B


The rise of China as a new force in African development is one of the most significant political shifts in sub-Saharan Africa in the postcolonial era. What is largely missing from China-Africa scholarship, however, is attention to how the Chinese role in Africa is both embedded in and altering everyday social relations. Of particular importance is the need to understand how Chinese aid is affecting gender relations and the lives of African women. This article examines these issues in a rural setting in Uganda that is on the brink of a massive Chinese government funded business development. As such, this article provides an unusual analysis of the social foundation on which a large Chinese development project is being built. It reveals that the new politics of Chinese development assistance are intertwined with, and often exacerbate, existing gender inequalities. More conceptually, these dynamics reveal a need broaden the conventional concerns addressed by the gender and development literature. Of particular importance is the need to examine the gendered consequences of disturbing new synergies emerging between African governments and the business-focused development approach of the Chinese.