Women in Agriculture

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Ashok Khandelwal, Shipra Deo

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Lives of women, particularly in rural India, cannot be visualized without agriculture and allied activities. As per census of 2011 figures, four out of five women workers in rural India work as agriculture workers - as owner cultivators or as wage workers. This research monograph is about women farmers - women who are engaged primarily in cultivation of vegetables and fruits and predominantly belong to small and marginal land holdings households. It is the outcome of a baseline survey done in the year 2010-11 in three districts of Uttar Pradesh as part of an action intervention project.

Based on the survey findings, it discusses the structural and other factors that promoteand perpetuate gender inequality and prevent women from realizing their full potential as farmers; presents the struggles, positive experiences and practices; explores possible interventions at different levels for different stakeholders; and suggests a framework keeping the women's agency/empowerment at centre stage while simultaneously enhancing their well being.

Ashok Khandelwal

Ashok Khandelwal is a right based social worker and is currently associated with Right to Food Campaign. He is also working as Rajasthan State Adviser to Supreme Court Commissioners. He studied economics at the University of Rajasthan and was a Fellow at the VV Giri National Labour Institute. In his work span of over 30 years, he has implemented several action research projects with different set of unorganised workers all over the country to promote collective self-action for development. In the recent past he has worked on issues related to seasonal migrant labour, child labour and right to food. His action-research work on Child Labour in Cotton Seed Production has drawn wide attention.

Shipra Deo

Shipra Deo is a development practitioner for last 13 years. She has worked in the fields of community organisation, livelihoods promotion, women empowerment, literacy and leadership. She has provided technical assistance to state governments, and national and international organisations in mainstreaming gender equity concerns in their work. She has conducted several studies on issues related to gender and development; and has led programes aimed at enabling women to seize the available opportunities. Her thematic expertise lies in agriculture development, with a special interest in its gender aspects. She holds a certificate in Community Driven Development, a Master's in Environmental Sciences and an honours degree in Agriculture.