Feminisation of Agriculture

Feminisation of Agriculture

This article deals with ‘Feminisation of Agriculture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .


  • Feminisation of agriculture means the increasing visibility and participation of woman in agriculture .
  • Women constitute close to 35 % of all agricultural workers (NSSO 2011-12).
  • However , they are joining agriculture as agrarian proletariat /labour class (& not as owners) .

Feminisation of Agriculture


  • Migration of Males  from rural areas to cities leaving behind  agricultural chores to women. This trend in the agriculture sector was most visible during 1999-2005 marked by declining agriculture growth rates which saw a distress migration of male members to relatively better paying jobs either in the urban informal economy or the agriculturally prosperous states .
  • Widowhood forces woman to till the land to feed family. 

Has this led to women empowerment ?

Yes, it has

It has increased participation of women in the workforce & helped them to

  1. Acquire financial independence 
  2. Imbibe decision making skills.

No , it hasn’t

  • Feminization of Agriculture is not an intended consequence but an unintended impact of distress migration .
  • Due to patriarchal nature of society, they are referred as flexible labours . Hence, they are joining the sector as an agrarian proletariat .
  • Although they are participating in the agriculture but they don’t have  land rights.
  • Because of rural sector schemes like MGNREGA,  men are migrating back  and women are  again confined to  domestic spheres (phenomenon known as ‘de-feminization of agriculture’) .


  • Lack of Property Rights : Given the social and religious set up in India, women do not generally enjoy equal property rights as their male counter parts .
  • Women also have poor access to credit, irrigation, inputs, technology and markets.
  • Agricultural implements are designed for men .

What steps can  government take in view of feminization of Agriculture ?

  • Gender responsive agricultural budgets and  policies are the need of the hour.
  • More property rights should be provided to women .
  • Machines like tractors should be specifically designed for women .
  • Women should be provided preferential membership in the rural cooperatives.
  • Formation of Agricultural SHG for women.
  • Providing creche facility to such women farmers  .

Steps taken by Government

  • 15 October is celebrated as ‘Women Farmers day‘ .
  • Atleast 30% budget allocation should be provided to women beneficiaries in all schemes & programs (including agriculture) .
  • Low duty and tax if land transfer is on women name in some states like Punjab.
  • Women Agricultural Self Help Groups (SHGs) are being promoted by the government.

Side Topic : Defeminisation of Agriculture

  • Due to schemes like MGNREGA, men who earlier migrated to other areas in search of jobs have started to come back. This has led to reverse process known as Defeminisation of Agriculture .

Concept : Feminization of work

It has three dimensions

  1. When more number of females are working
  2. When there is increased concentration of woman in certain jobs
  3. When men start participating in the work that was traditionally domain of women (Eg : cookery)

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