ESG Reporting Frame Work

Feminization of Agriculture

Feminization of Agriculture: Why Empowering Women is the New Norm of Indian Agriculture?

Women are like teabags, they don’t know their true power until they are in hot water.- Elanoor Roosevelt

Climate change is a manmade problem with a feminist solution, the former Irish president and UN rights commissioner Mary Robinson is absolutely right when she said that. The agricultural sector has a unique potential for empowering women which is the need of the hour for the Indian society and economy. Half of the Indian population depend on agriculture as the primary source of income. Hence, empowering women in agriculture and providing them opportunities can offer a major transformation in Indian agriculture.

Women farmers are bounded by multiple barriers that prevent them from feeding their families and improving their livelihoods. As per the report of Periodic Labour Force Survey 2019-'20, more than three-quarters (75.7%) of women in rural India are engaged in agriculture.

According to the international humanitarian group OXFAM, nearly 75% of the full-time workers on Indian agri lands are women. Female farmers produce 60% to 80% of the South Asian country’s food.

Agriculture Feminisation

According to Vikas Pedia, there is ‘feminisation’ of the agriculture sector, with an increasing number of women in multiple roles as cultivators, entrepreneurs, and labourers. There is empirical evidence globally that women can play a vital role in ensuring food security and preserving local agro-biodiversity. However, you should thank the rural women who are responsible for the integrated management and use of diverse natural resources to meet the daily household needs. This proves that women farmers should have enhanced access to resources like land, water, credit, technology and training which warrants critical analysis in the context of India.

Women Roles’ in agriculture and its Allied Fields

Since decades, women have been playing a significant and crucial role in agricultural development and allied fields. However, the nature and the role of women in agriculture varies greatly from region to region. But in spite of these variations, women are actively involved in various agricultural activities.

According to Census 2011, out of total female main workers, 55 percent were agricultural labourers and 24 percent were cultivators. However, only 12.8 per cent of the operational holdings were owned by women, which reflect the gender disparity in ownership of landholdings in agriculture. Moreover, there is concentration of operational holdings (25.7 per cent) by women in the marginal and small holdings categories.

Rural women have been  performing  numerous labour intensive jobs such as weeding, hoeing, grass cutting, picking, cotton stick collection, separation of seeds from fibre, keeping of livestock and its other associated activities like milking, milk processing, preparation of ghee, etc. since decades.

Let’s know few lucrative job and business of agriculture where women can excel:

Tea Industry

The most lucrative agri job or business for women can be these:

  • Paid Labourers.
  • Cultivator doing labour on their own land.
  • Managers of certain aspects
  • Plant protection
  • Entrepreneur and start own tea garden
  • Starting and investing in Tea Estate


Most of the rural women are involved in agricultural activities in different ways depending on the socio-economic status of their family and regional factors.

  • Paid Labourers.
  • Cultivator doing labour on their own land.
  • Managers of certain aspects of agricultural production by way of labour supervision and the participation in post-harvest operations.

The types of agricultural activities taken up by women include the following 

  • Sowing
  • Nursery management
  • Transplanting
  • Weeding
  • Irrigation
  • Fertilizer application
  • Plant protection
  • Harvesting, winnowing, storing etc.

Livestock Industry

  • Cleaning of animal and sheds
  • Watering of cattle
  • Milking the animals
  • Fodder collection
  • Preparing dung cakes
  • Collection farm yard manure

Poultry Industry

  • Entrepreneur and start your own poultry farm
  • Starting and investing in poultry farm

The support from the government and the male counterparts, would protect their rights and boost their productivity. It would unleash the potential of hundreds of millions of women farmers to effectively reduce poverty and hunger.

Author Bio

Pronami Chetia is a contributing writer at Koshish India.

Was this Article useful?

Yes/ No 

Leave Your Comments