Codes of conduct covering the employment conditions of Southern producers exporting to European markets mushroomed throughout the 1990s, especially in the horticulture sector linking UK and European supermarkets with export firms in Africa. The majority of employment in this sector is 'informal', a significant proportion of which is female. This paper explores the gender sensitivity of codes currently applied in the African export horticulture sector from an analytical perspective that combines global value chain and gendered economy approaches. Through an analysis of these two approaches, it develops a 'gender pyramid', which provides a framework for mapping and assessing the gender content of codes of conduct. The pyramid is applied to codes that cover employment conditions in three commodity groups and countries exporting to European markets: South African fruit, Kenyan flowers and Zambian vegetables and flowers. It concludes that the gender sensitivity of codes needs to be greatly enhanced if they are to adequately address employment conditions relevant to informal and especially women workers.
Also published in World Development, Vol. 31 No.9 September 2003, 25 pp.