3. What do you understand by the phenomenon of feminisation of agriculture? What are its implications? Analyse. (15 Marks)
कृषि के नारीकरण की परिघटना से आप क्या समझते हैं? इसके निहितार्थ क्या हैं? विश्लेषण करें।
Candidates need to explain the phenomenon of feminisation of agriculture and then analyse its implications.
In India, the structural transformation is a stunted transformation. One of the drivers as well as an outcome of this transformation/transition is feminization of agriculture, though the degree varies across regions and countries. The roles of women in agriculture have increased during the last two decades and women now have broader and deeper responsibilities in agriculture – both in subsistence agriculture as well as in commercial farming. There is also evidence of the blurring of the traditional gender segregation of roles in agriculture.
The phenomenon of feminisation of agriculture
- Male outmigration from rural, primary agricultural areas and the globalization of agri-food systems have both been linked to a significant increase in women’s work and responsibilities in agriculture, a phenomenon referred to as the ‘feminization of agriculture’.
- While the term has been broadly used to bring attention to the increasing number of women, relative to men, in agricultural employment, little attention has been paid to what the ‘feminization of agriculture’ means for women’s empowerment and their roles in agriculture more generally.
- Feminization of agriculture, in its simplest and broader term, refers to women’s increasing participation in the agricultural labor force, whether as producers, as unpaid family workers, or as agricultural wage labor.
- It is an increase in women’s participation rates in the agricultural sector, either as self-employed or as agricultural wage workers.
- The phenomena include an increase in the percentage of women in the agricultural labor force relative to men, either because more women are working and/or because fewer men are working in agriculture.
- Depending upon the existing agricultural and livelihoods system, feminisation can mean slightly different things in the context of agriculture in different countries.
- It is therefore imperative that to understand recent trends in women’s work in agriculture, it is useful to locate them within the broader agricultural context.
- Access to land is one of the major challenges affecting women farmers’ productivity. Access to land is a basic requirement for farming and those who have ownership and control over land usually also command wealth, status and power in many societies. Agri feminization will help in solving these challenges.
- Creation and promotion of women-led micro enterprises will go a long way in validating female agency both on micro and macro-levels.
- This would require increased extension services such as capacity building, training and access to credit.
- Specifically, in agriculture, due to increasing feminisation of farms, providing cultivator status to women will be critical. This will help them in accessing benefits under multiple agricultural schemes that are only reserved for landowners.
- Adapting extension services to the needs of women farmers will be beneficial. Under farm mechanisation, a focus on innovating farm machines that are better suited to female use will be rewarding.
- Continued efforts to aggregate women under Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), and organising and training them via women self-help groups (SHGs) will also be crucial towards their empowerment.
These days women are taking on ever more responsibility in managing rice production, as more men seek work off-farm to generate needed household income, a process characterized as the ‘feminization of agriculture’. Women are having to take on the entire process of food production as well bringing up their children and caring for elderly relatives. It is a severe burden on all members of the family.