Economic Vulnerability of Women in Agriculture: Future Earth in Asia seminar

Photo: Research Institute for Humanity and Nature

Join a Future Earth in Asia seminar inviting Dr. Amrita Ghatak from Gujarat Institute of Development Research, India. The seminar will examine "Economic Vulnerability of Women in Agriculture: Evidence from various rounds of National Sample Surveys in India."

The seminar will take place at the Seminar Room#5, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto (access) and will run from 3.45 to 5.15pm on 17 April. No registration is required.

This presentation makes an attempt to understand the economic vulnerability of women engaged in the agricultural practices in India. The concept of economic vulnerability in this paper remains with the exposures of women farmers and agricultural labourers to risks through three alleyways, viz. inequities in wages, burden of loss of income due to illness and lack of land-ownership. Using unit level data from “situation assessment survey of agricultural households” 2013 and the survey on “health and morbidity” in 2014 by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) the paper makes attempts to: a) ascertain the economic vulnerability of women in agriculture with special focus on those households headed by women; b) assess the burden of loss of income due to ailment among agricultural labourers with special emphasis on women; and then d) link the observation on economic vulnerability to the institutional factors such as awareness about minimum support prices, utilisation of public health care facilities, satisfaction in selling the produce to the market and usefulness of extension services.

The presentation uses the methods of “description”, “understanding” and “reduction” with the help of appropriate statistical and econometric techniques. Women (even when compared with men of the same group) belonging to the poorer section of the society are found to be the most vulnerable economically, as indicated by their wages, health status and possession of cultivable land. The explanation remains with the arguments of patriarchy that derives and drives the institutional environment and arrangements in terms of traditions, norms, culture, practices and policies. Participation of women farmers, as experienced by several developing nations, in various user groups and unions may help in strengthening their voice in this sector. Recognition of household head gender-less may help in identifying more number of women as cultivators. 

Key words: Economic vulnerability; economic well-being; agriculture; women ; health; income forgone due to ailment, India

Short bio:

Dr. Amrita Ghatak is currently working as an Assistant Professor with the Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. She has a post-doctoral research experience from Jadavpur University, Kolkata (2013)and a Ph.D. degree in Economics (2013) from University of Mysore through Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. While her postdoctoral research looked into the economics of low-carbon growth in Kolkata city, her doctoral work focused on impact of health on labour supply and wages with special emphasis on agricultural workers in West Bengal, India.
She is the recipient of the V.K.R.V. Rao memorial award for the best PhD thesis in economics submitted during 2009-2014 at Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore. Her present research interests pertain to varied areas of social sciences including health; labour; economic well-being, environmental regulations and compliance decisions by industry; agriculture, and gender. She is also involved in delivering lectures as part of various programmes on labour economics, qualitative research methodology, game theory and applied micro-econometrics in and out of GIDR.