The Male Food Vendor in a Patriarchal Society Gender and Hidden Leveraging Socio-Cultural Dynamics in Male Food Vending in Dagbon Society

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Ridwan Abukari Kwame Abukari


Research on female-dominated occupations such as food vending has focused mainly on hygiene, and economic benefits, among other areas, without explicit examination of gendered dimensions of the trade, especially in patriarchal social settings like Dagbon. Previous studies on men in the nontraditional occupation have primarily been focused on the formal sector of the economy. This study explores men in the female-dominated occupation of food vending in the Northern regional capital, Tamale. Notably, the hidden socio-cultural constraints and facilitators that gave men a competitive advantage over women or prohibit them are explored. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews and personal observations and analyzed using thematic analysis. The study revealed that men enjoy competitive advantages over their female vendors as well as face emasculation and rejection based on patriarchal normative standards. Nevertheless, they adopt mechanisms that seek to normalize their involvement in the female occupation. The findings augment and further deepen our understanding of gendered perspectives of men in atypical trade and its implication on the labor market. A clarion call is thus made to government and other stakeholders to design and implement gender-friendly policies and interventions to curb gender-specific challenges in every sector of the Ghanaian economy.

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