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Experiencing and coping with change: women-headed farming households in the Eastern Gangetic Plains

 

Known as the ‘feminisation of agriculture’, farming women are no longer just part of the family labour unit, or just care for the household gardens. Because of increasing rates of male migration from poor farming households, usually to work in the cities, women have emerged as the key producers, performing a wide range of tasks related to planning, cropping, managing, processing and marketing, in and around the agricultural fields. Despite women’s increased agricultural roles, in most developing countries rural women operate under serious constraints. They are often poorly educated, have little access to credit, markets, or training, are overburdened with domestic responsibilities, and have no title to the lands they till. This report is based on a survey into the issues, concerns and challenges of women-headed farming households in the Eastern Gangetic Plains – one of the poorest parts of the world, marked by male out-migration and deteriorating livelihoods. The results will help agricultural scientists and development agencies incorporate gender issues into project design and implementation.