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There continues to be a great deal of debate about whether women's entry into paid work represents empowerment or exploitation. Far less attention has been paid to how men have responded to the challenge posed by women's paid work to their traditional roles as family breadwinners. It is clear that male breadwinner ideologies are both pervasive and persistent, so we could expect some amount of resistance from men. This is certainly the story that is emerging from a World Bank study in Fiji (2012) €“ with one caveat: it is mainly from men in their roles as husbands rather than as fathers, brothers or sons that this resistance is seen- and their resistance is aimed at changing gender roles. It appears that the male sense of identity and power is far more closely bound to their dominant roles as male breadwinner of the family. The complex negotiations through which women and men are attempting to come to terms with women's increasingly visible role as breadwinners is leading to unexpected reconfigurations of personal and family life. This paper argues that it is yet not clear whether these reconfigurations represent a crisis of masculinity or women's pathway to empowerment.
Priya Chattier joined SSGM as a Pacific Research Fellow in April 2014. Prior to joining SSGM, she pioneered and headed the University of the South Pacific's first-ever Gender Studies programme. She completed her PhD in Sociology at the Australian National University in 2008. Her doctoral research explored the dynamics of survival, self-respect and agency in the lived experiences of women living in poverty in rural Fiji. Priya's work is located at the intersections of academic and activist work on gender equality, women's economic empowerment, gender relations, Hindu womanhood and Hinduism, and social change in contemporary Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries. Her recent publications focus on the capability approach and gender-sensitive measures of poverty and also on, gender and Hinduism in Fiji. In the recent past, she has been involved in various research projects including an Australian Research Council research grant for Fiji-based fieldwork on Assessing Development: Designing Better Indices for Poverty and Gender Equity and was also a lead researcher for World Bank qualitative rapid assessment in Fiji informing the World Development Report 2012 on 'gender and economic choice'. Last year, Priya was employed as the National Consultant for AusAID Fiji's Market Development Fund's research project on gender and poverty in horticulture and tourism sectors in Fiji. These research experiences required her to critically evaluate gender relations, history of women's movements and current discourses on feminist political economy, including trade, financial governance, and globalization in Fiji and the Pacific. Priya has about ten years of research experience in documenting socio-economic issues of vulnerable groups from a gender and human rights perspective using participatory research methodologies.