Whenever we talk about the participation and efforts of village women in agriculture we cannot deny the fact based on anthropological studies that women were the first to plant gardens of Cereals. In ancient societies the task of planting and farming was the job of women whereas men were involved in hunting animals. So, in other words women are the real founders of agriculture. Even today women are the main producers and the main source of total agriculture in the world.
In Pakistan women are estimated to constitute 42% of the total family labor. In other countries like Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Morocco and Lebanon women comprised 50.7%, 55.3%, 34.7%, 53.2% and 40.7% of total paid and unpaid agriculture labor respectively. In developing countries, two-third of the women labor force is engaged in agricultural labor e.g. in countries like Zimbabwe, Congo, Afghanistan and Kenya women provide 40-80% of the labor. If we see the percentage of active females working in agriculture globally, the ratio of women working globally in agriculture is 50% it exceeds to 61% in low income deficit countries and touches 79% in least developed countries. In-short, rural women are playing a vital role in agriculture production sector all over the world.
Females all over the world are not only involved in field works like sowing , rearing, transplanting and production but they are perform activities which supplements agriculture productivity e.g. food storage, threshing, grain cleaning, cottage industry and livestock etc. They are also engaged in providing cattle for plugging and poultry farm activities. Women are an equally important part of society as males. As a part of society women are playing part in reproductive, productive and community management activities.
Females all over the world are facing serious constraints in agriculture but Pakistani women have to face more difficult circumstances because of strict social, cultural, financial, legal and political factors applied to the gender discrimination. Women are facing preferential treatment inside and outside the boundary wall. As the women are involved in every corner of household work and they are also easing their partners by equally participating in their field works, this overloading of work adversely affects the women health and also affects the health of infants and young children. Almost all the rural women are illiterate because of conservative cultural codes and are unaware of agricultural techniques. All the agencies access only men to provide them knowledge related to farming, latest techniques and productivity enhancement resultantly women only get secondary knowledge. In underdeveloped countries women are deprived of the right of land ownership. Emerging trend of male migration to urban areas in search of jobs increased the responsibilities of village women, particularly the farm work. In brief women participation is considered low in country’s development not because of their
minimum participation but because their efforts are not accounted and recognized at national levels.
Particularly in Pakistan, despite of all these efforts and contributions made by women in agricultural productivity they are not even accolade at family level. Instead of crediting their efforts they are disgraced by their men and are made to feel little because of their ignorance and little knowledge. Women are usually censured at minor things and they remain dependent on their males for their whole lives. Men’s ego never accepts a women working better than him.
That’s why he uses his man power for letting her down. In order to increase the agricultural production we have to recognize the efforts of rural women at national levels. We have to give them sufficient rights so that they can work without any hurdles.
Firstly, an integrative system should be designed by Government of Pakistan in order to ease women in all agricultural sectors e.g. tax reforms, financial services , land reforms etc.
Secondly, gender-segregated data should be collected and considered by policy makers. In addition to this, women should be taught about the use of latest agricultural tools and techniques. Moreover, women should be made familiar with the new methods of food preservation and processing.
Anyhow, we should celebrate the International Day of Rural Women on national levels and acclaim and appreciate the rural women efforts publically. We should stand for their rights and take steps to make their lives unruffled.
The perfect women, you can see is the working women, one who uses her hands, and her head and her heart for the good of others. (Thomas Hardy)