Suvi Lensu

Gendered Livelihoods in Borderlands - the case study of Goma - Gisenyi

I am a social scientist with a particular interest in gender, sexuality and identity politics. During and after my academic studies, I have worked in several research projects and non-governmental organizations that promote women’s labor rights and sustainable livelihoods. 


My research project “Informal Sectors and Economic Security: Gendered Urban Everyday Life in African Borderlands” is situated in the urban crossover of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. International frontiers are often described as breeding grounds for informal trade, labor and consumption. Together informal economy, urbanization and transnational trade constitute a particular gendered pattern, in which women tend to be pushed to the lowest-income end of the informal economy.   


My research is focused, first, to examine how and to which extend do the (re)produced gendered roles, attitudes, representations and norms play in the access of decent work and professional development. Second, I study the concept of “formal and informal economy” and consider what kind of alternative framings could better depict the reality of urban, gendered everyday life.