This chapter explores how poor women in a conservative and unstable context strive to overcome cultural barriers to engage in business and markets. It focuses on the transformation of women's 'purdah' norms – manifested by veiling and women's mobility outside of the home – permitting the start of women's community-based enterprises in the turbulent context of Afghanistan. The chapter expands upon the discourse of social norms, focusing particular attention to religious influences and change, to understand trends of inclusion and exclusion in women's fragile economic development. It presents some of the main research findings, highlighting the gradual process of transformation of purdah in selected women's enterprises, and the varying roles of key actors and the influence of the local context. The chapter also focuses on through the prism of social norms to explore streams of cultural change and economic development at the micro-level in the challenging context of Afghanistan, with macro-level implications.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315690759-6, hdl.handle.net/1765/120153
Citation
Ritchie, H.A. (2017). Negotiating Traditional Norms and Barriers in Women’s Fragile Economic Development in Afghanistan. In People, Aid and institutions in socio-economic recovery / Dorothea Hilhorst, Bart Weijs and Gemma van der Haar. doi:10.4324/9781315690759-6