Giving Compass' Take:

• Despite women making up 80 percent of the agrarian workforce in India, they are still not recognized as farmers, which impacts their funding.

• The article mentions that the government has been able to do little to tackle wage gaps and access to credit. Is this an opportunity for philanthropy to provide support?

• Read about how Indian farmers are turning to eco-farming. 

In India, land rights structurally escape women. This is a fundamental issue in why women’s work as farmers is largely invisible. However, the large-scale migration of men towards pursuing other non-farm employment opportunities due to the worsening agrarian crisis has pushed more women into this sector.

Work is not homogenous, and neither are women, or their work. Perceiving work through economic lens, the policy framework falls short in addressing the invisible and open unemployment of women along with increasing trends of feminisation in the sector. The first ask for women in the sector remains being identified as a ‘farmer’.

According to previous reports by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the agrarian sector nearly employs 80% women workers. Despite such high numbers, both the sector and the macroeconomic policy framework are yet to recognise them as farmers. Moreover, 81% of the female agricultural labourers belong to Dalit, Adivasi and OBC communities (ILO, 2010). The largest share of casual and landless labourers also come from these social groups. The burden of the agricultural debt has also inadvertently fallen upon women.

When unpacking schemes for women farmers, the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) is the only sub-programme under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) particularly aimed at women farmers.

The sub-programme under NRLM for Mahila Kisan needs to be scaled up and backed with improved resource mobilisation plans, which may not be enough as work for women farmers also varies regionally. Moreover, transparency in the process of identifying and registering women farmers is crucial for better outcomes.

Read the full article about money for women farmers by Saahil Kejriwal at India Development Review.