Women’s work in agriculture in northwest Bangladesh under-valued

April 30th, 2020

‘An empirical investigation of men’s views of women’s contribution to farming in northwest Bangladesh’

A study of farming couples (husband and wives) in northwest Bangladesh confirms that men’s views on women’s contribution to farming are very different to those of the women. The study looked at women’s participation in rice and vegetable production activities and decision-making, finding that the role of women is generally overlooked or under-valued. Male views may be influenced by how they value the activities that women undertake, and cultural expectations that they are the decision-makers; nevertheless, women are becoming increasingly involved in farm management.

Data collector interviewing community

Data collector interviewing community member for the study

So what are the factors that influence men to consult with their wives regarding farm decisions? Eleven factors were considered and three dominated:

  • level of education (years of schooling) of the woman
  • woman’s membership of a NGO
  • the number of hours per day that the woman spent working on the farm.

The study provides a fascinating insight into farming family dynamics in northwest Bangladesh. Importantly, it provides empirical evidence that  investing in women’s education and promotion of NGO participation advances gender integration into crop farming.

Author Assoc Prof Hasneen interviewing woman

One of the authors, Hasneen Jahan, interviewing a woman for the study

More publications about our gender work are available here: https://research.csiro.au/sdip/projects/downloads/#gender

About SDIP

SDIP Phase 2 aims to improve the integrated management of water, energy and food in the Himalayan river basins, addressing climate risk and the interests of women and girls. It seeks to:

  • strengthen practices for regional cooperation
  • generate and use critical new knowledge to enhance regional cooperation
  • improve the regional enabling environment for private sector engagement.

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