07 May, 2021

The Invisible Farmers

The entrenched male bias reflected in the SC’s words is part of a collective larceny. India harms itself by keeping women farmers bereft of land, information, credit, technology.

Photograph by Suresh K. Pandey
The Invisible Farmers
outlookindia.com
2021-01-29T08:23:10+05:30

The Chief Justice of India’s recent remarks suggesting women have no place in the ongoing farmers’ protests may have gone unnoticed in the 1960s. Today they appear astonishing in their lack of awareness about what the face of the Indian farmer looks like. Women are protesting alongside men because they too have stakes in the outcomes. Indeed, their stakes are bigger—in rural India, 73 per cent of female workers (and only 55 per cent of male workers) depend on agriculture. It’s high time women farmers were seen and heard in their own right by policy-makers and law enforcers. After all, they are the backbone of India’s agriculture and allied sectors, performing a wide range of tasks in crop cultivation as well as in management of livestock, fisheries, poultry and non-timber forest produce. In cultivation, they do much of the non-mechanised back-breaking work, especially in rice farming, such as transplanting, weeding and harvesting. They comprise an estimated 60 per cent of the workforce in livestock production and 32 per cent of the 13.5 million...

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