Feminisation of agriculture as an effect of male out-migration: unexpected outcomes from Jhapa District, Eastern Nepal

H.N. Gartaula, L.E. Visser, Anke Niehof

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38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Nepal, male out-migration is an important factor to contribute to GDP through regular remittances. This paper looks at the effects of male out-migration on the women left behind in relation to labour participation and decision-making in agriculture. The literature speaks of feminisation of agriculture as a positive development for women’s empowerment. A distinction is made between labour feminisation and managerial feminisation. As the two concepts indeed refer to two different roles, power positions and managerial practices, the paper separately explores these practices and actors involved. Data were collected for a doctoral study in Jhapa District, Eastern Nepal; a lowland area from where much male out-migration is taking place. The study shows a higher level of feminisation in a situation where de-facto autonomous female heads-of-household are decision makers and less in case of women who stay within the patrilineal household of their parents-in-law. Moreover, feminisation in the first case has the unexpected outcome that women seem to be moving away from agriculture. An interdisciplinary approach using anthropological in-depth interviews and demographic survey data shows that a concept like feminisation of agriculture needs to be considered and understood in the wider social and cultural context of an expanding rural space
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-578
JournalThe International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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