Gender , Agriculture and Sustainable Development in India : Women's Marginalization or Empowerment
Rural women make up for the majority of the world’s poor population and the female headed households figure among them as poorest. All these stifle rural development and progress in agriculture and threaten food security. Women make essential contributions to agricultural development yet face specific constraints that disadvantage them in relation to men. The constraints are mainly structural and may reinforce one another, creating a vicious circle of women’s subordination and gender division of labour. Common expression of these constraints include restricted mobility, structural impediments, reduced social space etc. Men’s moving out to urban areas to participate in monetary economy burden the women at home for taking care of land and its cultivation besides huge domestic responsibilities but however they enjoy little freedom in decision making process.
These cut across social, economic, political and cultural divides, and are created and sustained by social norms that in turn are reinforced by the state, through its markets, household and community. Women find it difficult to graduate from a role in subsistence agriculture to more prominent positions in market-based agriculture due to practical constraints. This paper addresses the ' complex' nature of gender marginalization in agriculture with globalization and tries to examine how participatory development can be achieved through case studies.