Gender , Agriculture and Sustainable Development in India : Women's Marginalization or Empowerment

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Smita VERMA, Isabella Thoburn College, India
In rural areas of almost all developing countries, women play a major role in household and community survival strategies and contribute significantly to the rural economy. In all cultures gender determines power and resources for male and female. Despite all efforts of best technology and human development, female power and resources are not translated into equality of opportunities and that is why it is lowest in rural areas of the developing world.

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.