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Women’s approach to farming in the context of feminization of agriculture: A case study from the middle hills of Nepal

Kc Bhawana and Digby Race

World Development Perspectives, 2020, vol. 20, issue C

Abstract: The outmigration of men has led to the feminization of rural communities where women are increasingly responsible for farming. This situation has been referred to as the ‘feminization of agriculture’. This article uses the theory of intersectionality to explore the feminization process in rural communities and to understand how women are changing their farming practices in the middle hills region of Nepal. Empirical data for this study was obtained using a mixed method approach which included a household survey, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and field observation. The study found differential impacts of the feminization process among women, with the impacts for women largely defined by their caste/ethnicity, gender, class and socio-economic level. Outmigration was causing large changes for households, yet it was not the only factor driving change in rural communities, with women increasingly involved in decision-making in both ‘migrant’ and ‘non-migrant’ households. While new roles in farming have emerged for women, traditional gender norms still constrain how women practice farming. Farming is changing noticeably, with less focus on maximising crop production and raising livestock and more emphasis given to management of farmland closer to settlements and less intensive farming.

Keywords: Decision-making; Family farming; Gender norms; Outmigration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2020.100260

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