Agriculture and Women

Women make essential contributions to agricultural and rural economies in developing countries. Their roles vary considerably between and within regions and are changing rapidly in many parts of the world, where economic and social forces are transforming the agricultural sector. In this edition of the newsletter, we compile readings on the gender divide in agriculture.

Starting with this edition, we will also be using the newsletter to compile jobs shared by Women in Econ & Policy members over WhatsApp. This will make it easier to keep a track of the opportunities and make them accessible to those who are not on the WhatsApp group. Please continue to share job opportunities with us (over email or on WhatsApp) in order to make the information as accessible as possible.
Gender Divide in Agriculture
PARI’s hard hitting journalism in India elucidates the gender divide in agricultural tasks and the health challenges it poses such as injuries, high infant mortality, and more. Read on here
Rural women, more than their male counterparts, take the lead in agricultural activities in Nigeria, making up to 60-80 percent of labour force. However, gender inequality is dominant in the sector and this constitutes a bottleneck to development, calling for a review of government policies on agriculture to all the elements that place rural women farmers at a disadvantage.

The women-in-agriculture (WIA) programme in Nigeria, which was established in cognizance of this and the shortcoming in extension services for women farmers, has been a huge success. Read on about it in more detail here

Gendering Technological Change: Evidence from Agricultural Mechanization This working paper uses loaminess of soil as an exogenous variation that leads to an increase in the adoption of technological equipment and concludes that mechanisation in agriculture has led to a greater decline (22%) in women’s agricultural LFPR in rural India during 1999-2011, while the effect was insignificant for men. Read the paper here
Dispossessed Women’s Work: The Case of Talcher Coalfields of Odisha The author sheds light on the variations in the changing lives of rural dispossessed women in Talcher coalfields of Odisha stemming from the pre-existing agrarian inequalities shaped by caste, class and gender positions. Dispossession had a direct impact on the women’s work from landowning and landless households due to which they were deprived of the access to the agricultural land and other common resources.

Furthermore, women were subjected to exclusion by the state’s compensation policy, especially the landless Dalits due to lack of land with no means to quantify their loss of livelihoods. Read the paper here.

Diffusion of Agricultural Information within Social Networks: Evidence on Gender Inequalities from Mali Social networks are often seen as a cost-effective way to disseminate information, but there is lack of evidence to inform who to give information to within a network to best reach others within the community.

Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation in Mali to study the role of giving information to different people within a network in the spread of that information. People who were social and more closely connected to those who were trained had more information. Female farmers were less likely to receive information, indicating that disseminating information through social networks may reinforce existing gender inequalities. Read the paper here

India’s Invisible Women: Can Farmer’s Widows Navigate India’s Agriculture Crisis? This reading list sheds light on the much ignored issue of the widows of farmers and the consequences of farmer suicides such as inability to find alternative sources of livelihoods, burden of repaying loans and lack of healthcare. 

Policy Response

Here is an analysis of existing policy prescriptions—of improving agricultural growth and crop diversification as a panacea to the problem—and how they are insufficient in improving the female labour force participation rate. In order for policies to successfully address these issues, it must consider the constraints imposed by gender norms. 
Women farmers entitlement Bill, 2011: The bill was proposed by MS Swaminathan, the then Rajya Sabha member, which sought to provide due recognition to female farmers. Among the proposed steps was the ‘Women Farmer Certificate’ which would enable female farmers to get Krishi Credit Card. We are yet to make any legislative advancement in enabling a woman farmer’s access to land, credit, technology, information. Read the bill in detail here.
This OXFAM policy brief  discusses how women farmers in India are among the most marginalised as without land titles, they are deprived of official assistance. The brief makes recommendations to ensure land entitlements to women farmers.
This FAO brief compiles evidence from current and previous epidemics to explore the socio-economic implications of the impact of the pandemic on food systems and rural economies, and how a gender-sensitive approach can help address key policy issues related to the functioning of food and agricultural systems and the special circumstances of rural women. It also provides concrete policy recommendations to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on rural women and girls.

Resources for conducting research on Agriculture and Women

FAO publications with a focus on Gender can be accessed here.
Read evidence compiled by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on closing gender gaps in agriculture here.
Generating Evidence and New Directions for Equitable Results (GENDER) is CGIAR’s new platform designed to put gender equality at the forefront of global agricultural research for development. Visit their website here.

View the fourth edition of the newsletter here, and previous editions on our website

All featured photos are from

Group Updates

Register for the interactive session with Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research) here 

Send us questions for Yamini Aiyar by filling out this form 
Jobs Shared by Members:
1. The World Bank Internship Program is now accepting applications through October 31st for its Winter Term (November 2020 – March 2021). Apply here
2. IPA is seeking a Senior Policy Associate to support the execution of policy engagement, policy strategy, and results dissemination for an initiative that seeks to improve the availability and quality of evidence to inform gender-responsive policy and programming for the COVID-19 crisis. Apply here
3. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks to hire four highly motivated, energetic and data-oriented Research Analysts to work with senior researchers from the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division at IFPRI’s New Delhi Office and with researchers at IFPRI’s Washington, DC office. Apply here
4. Oxford Policy Management’s education portfolio is recruiting for an Education Consultant on a permanent basis.This job can be based in one of their global offices but they particularly encourage applicants based in Islamabad, New Delhi and the UK who will benefit from current Education expertise in those locations. Apply here
5. Think Through Consulting is looking to hire a Research Assistant to work on a 18-month long project. The RA will be closing working with the team of academicians (including Dr. Subha Mani who will lead the work on Impact Evaluations), Government Officials, TTC team members and The World Bank professionals. A Masters’ degree in economics or related field from a reputed
national or international organization preferably with some prior research
experience is required. To apply, please write to with a CV and cover letter. 
Have thoughts on our fifth newsletter, or ideas for other activities we should consider? Follow us on Twitter, shoot us an email or fill out this feedback form! We’d love to hear from you and work on what we can do better!
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