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Rice Today Vol. 13, No. 4 Women rising

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  42 Rice Today   October-December 2014 Rice facts  n Asia, women are an indispensable part of rice farming. Their roles are somewhat dictated by farming practices and sociocultural norms across countries. In general, women are primarily involved in establishing the crop, harvesting, and doing postharvesting activities while men take the lead in preparing the land, by  Samarendu Mohanty and Humnath Bhandari    Asian rice farming at a crossroads managing the crop, operating farm machines, and marketing (Table). In Bangladesh, however, women’s involvement in rice farming is minimal. It is limited to postharvest activities mainly because of their religious and cultural practices. Women traditionally are in charge of household aairs and are discouraged from working outside their homes. On average, Asian women contribute nearly half of the total labor input into rice production ranging from 17% in the Philippines to 74% in the Indian state of Uar Pradesh (Fig. 1). More importantly, the traditional role of women in rice farming is rapidly changing. They are going from farm laborers to farm managers and owners because of the outmigration of male farmers to urban areas in search of beer economic opportunities. This is reected in the rise of women farm landholders across Asia, with striking increases in Nepal and Thailand in the past two decades.    C   S   I   S   A ,   T   A   M   I   L   N   A   D   U   H   U   B  43 Rice Today   October-December 2014 Percentage share of female and male labor inputs by rice production activities in selected Asian countries (2008-10). Country Gender Landpreparation Cropestablishment Crop caremanagement Harvesting &threshing Postharvestactivities Bangladesh M 9889779549F 21123551India (Assam) M 10001004010F 010006090Nepal M 8026434857F 2074575243Sri Lanka M 9286926167F 81483933Cambodia M 8639764760F 1461245340Laos M 6245585333F 3855424767Average M 8245655543F 1855354557 Fig. 2. Share of agricultural landholdings by gender. Source: Gender and land rights database, FAO. Indonesia Laos Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Thailand Vietnam Bangladesh NepalIndia %10090807060504030CountryCountry20100 Fig. 1. Female-male labor input in rice production (2004-10). Source: IRRI farm household survey database. Cambodia Laos FemaleFemaleMaleMale NE ThailandPhilippines SouthVietnamBangladesh Odisha(India)Assam(India)Tamil Nadu(India)Nepal Utar Pradesh(India) %1009080706050403020100 In Nepal, the share of agricultural holdings by women made an 11-point  jump from 8 to 19% between 2001 and 2011. Similarly, Thailand witnessed a big jump in women's agricultural holdings from 15 to 27% between 1993 and 2003. Steady, but small increases in agricultural holdings by women have been recorded in both Bangladesh and India in the past two decades with an increase from 3.5 to 4.6% between 1996 and 2006 in Bangladesh, and an increase from 10 to 13% between 1995 and 2010 in India. At the same time, in many Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the labor input of women into rice farming has been on the decline because of the outmigration of rural women and mechanization of rice farming. In the past two decades, their share in rice farm labor in these countries has decreased by at least 10 percentage points. This declining trend has not  been witnessed in South Asia; but, it will not be long before this trend will be evident in the region. Despite many positive trends in rice farming, the share of agricultural holdings by women is still very low at less than 20% for most Asian rice economies, except for Thailand (Fig. 2). In many other Southeast Asian countries, such of the pack is Bangladesh where women account for only 5% of agricultural holdings.The role of women in rice farming in Asia will continue to change as the out migration of males accelerates in the future. This warrants crafting policies and programs that will strengthen women’s access to resources and services. The providers of rice technologies, including equipment and machinery, need to be sensitized to women's needs. Dr. Mohanty is the head of the Social Sciences Division (SSD) and program leader (targeting and policy) at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Dr. Bhandari, who is based in the IRRI Bangladesh Ofce, is an agricultural economist in SSD. as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, and the Philippines, the share of women farm landholders is surprisingly low. At the boom Source: IRRI farm household survey database.

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Jul 23, 2017
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