The Role of Women Madan Sara in Haitian Economy

Ornithologists study birds; but in the case of Haiti's most celebrated bird, the Madan Sara, a science of a different kind is needed. It has long been the view of anthropologists that the women who take their name from the birds purported to be quite boisterous in their noise-filled lives are critically involved in the Haitian system of marketing.


The statistics are glaring; 70% of the workers in the commercial sector and assembly industries are women. In the agricultural sector they're just shy of equaling men at 49%. As the responsible party in most households for the wellbeing and education of the children, women have a struggle to provide their families with life's necessities. As a Madan Sara (twin to the 'market mammy' of West Africa), some women find a foothold as the spoke in the agricultural industry that makes the whole sector work.

The Madan Sara creates an integral trading network, operating as a liaison between the more than 700,000 small farms in the rural and coastal areas and the buyers of produce within the city. She establishes a regular route for her travels, and maintains relationships with her contacts, making trading easier and bilateral, as often, buyers can also have something to sell and sellers want something to buy. They are also savvy businesswomen, often employing their own agents and, along with other peasant groups, take on ambitious tasks like the bank for the poor Fonkoze.

It is true the Madan Sara is synonymous with a notoriously noisy bird. But, however they got their name, without their daily input, it is widely thought that Haitian commerce would simply, inevitably break down.

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Azima says...

Cheers to the bravery of these women, our mothers, our wives, our family, our

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