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Beyond the 'Feminization of Agriculture': Rural out-migration, shifting gender relations and emerging spaces in natural resource management

Leder, Stephanie (2022). Beyond the 'Feminization of Agriculture': Rural out-migration, shifting gender relations and emerging spaces in natural resource management. Journal of Rural Studies. 91 , 157-169
[Research article]

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Abstract

In international research and development discourses, the 'Feminization of Agriculture' is often used as a vague umbrella term referring to an increase in women's labor burden and responsibilities in agriculture as a result of male out-migration. However, the term is under-conceptualized, and fails to reflect changing gender relations in agriculture and natural resource management, with the potential consequence of ill-defined agriculture and gender research programs. This paper challenges narratives of the 'Feminization of Agriculture'. Drawing from feminist political ecology, this paper conceptualizes gender relations more broadly by highlighting gendered subjectivities and power relations in agriculture in contexts of male out-migration. I propose a conceptual framework to explore shifts in (1) socio-spatial struggles over resources, (2) influence within agrarian households and communal spaces, (3) aspirations, feelings of insecurity and self-determination. I build on extensive participatory fieldwork conducted in three countries, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The conceptual framework helps analyze how some gender norms and relations are renegotiated in contexts of male out-migration. While unequal power relations shape everyday struggles in agriculture and natural resource management, for some women, increased mobility, social engagement and handling cash create new spaces to influence, move, and communicate. Importantly, everyday struggles over agricultural, water and land resources remain shaped by gender, age, caste, land ownership, remittances and household position, particularly those living with the family in-laws. Research and development programs need to take intersectionality into account and explore emerging spaces for influence, but also be aware of persistent gender norms and power relations which shape agricultural practices, aspirations and self-determination. I conclude by arguing for the need to expand the 'Feminization of Agriculture' debate towards a broader understanding of socio-spatial change and gendered subjectivities within agriculture.

Authors/Creators:Leder, Stephanie
Title:Beyond the 'Feminization of Agriculture': Rural out-migration, shifting gender relations and emerging spaces in natural resource management
Series Name/Journal:Journal of Rural Studies
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:91
Page range:157-169
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
ISSN:0743-0167
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 509 Other Social Sciences > Gender Studies
Keywords:Feminization of agriculture, Migration, Gender, Natural resource management, Feminist political ecology, Intersectionality, Nepal, India, Bangladesh
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-117279
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-117279
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.02.009
Web of Science (WoS)000793522900003
ID Code:28194
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:02 Jun 2022 12:29
Metadata Last Modified:02 Jun 2022 12:31

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