Feminisation of Agriculture : what do Survey Data Tell Us?


  • Nisha Srivastava Department of Economics, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh


It is frequently asserted that there has been a feminisation of agriculture in India though there has been little systematic effort to furnish evidence to support this. If indeed there has been feminisation, should it be viewed as a positive development for women? This paper provides some evidence, based on NSSO surveys, of women's growing participation in agriculture; it then argues that the entry of women in the workforce can be empowering for women, but conditions must be conducive. As more women enter the labour market, the opportunities for correcting gender asymmetries and empowering women open up, but the potential remains untapped because the conditions under which feminisation is taking place are loaded against women. Not only do women farmers not have ownership rights to the land they cultivate, but very few women have the autonomy to take production related decisions. This emerges from the analysis of agricultural census data that show that a very small proportion of agricultural holdings are controlled by women. Thus there is a clear disjunction between the growing number of women farmers and the limited number who have decision making powers in agriculture. Moreover, women are also handicapped on other fronts; disparities in wages and work days, low levels of education and skills, constraints on access to loans, and training; and lack of a collective voice. If the increasing numbers of women entering the workforce are to improve their own well-being and contribute to suffusing dynamism in agriculture many measures need to be taken urgently.


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite

Srivastava, N. (2016). Feminisation of Agriculture : what do Survey Data Tell Us?. Journal of Rural Development, 30(3), 341–359. Retrieved from https://nirdprojms.in/index.php/jrd/article/view/93492