Working with women farmers and farm laborers in Yavatmal I would like to share the following input:
Rural women’s life is limited between their home and farm land even in this time and age which is a huge drawback. Mobility, increasing the mobility of women through exposures and travel outside their village, freeing them from burden of house hold chores /farm chores even for few hours or few days and engage in “other work/ learning” can bring in gender transformative impact. Mobility for the purpose of participation in training program in another village or another district , travel to taluka place for banking work of Self-help groups and microfinance group , travelling to district headquarters for meeting government officers to claim government schemes and programs for their village community , meeting agriculture department officials and seeking support for farm work as per government plans and policies , proposing new schemes for the community which is agriculture based on their experience can be very transformative and liberative .
This turns them into leaders automatically in their village. This renewed strength has ripple effect and many more women join this empowerment process. However men need to be trained on gender equality, need to take care of household chores for this transformative impact to be complete. Otherwise women will end up doing more work which becomes a double burden.
Capacity Building programs on various issues from importance of participating in local governance, to be aware of all government programs and policies , Gender justice training for both men and women ,Organic farming and low cost agro production training entrepreneurship , managing self-help group and finance etc. helps women in transformative impact and supports the sustainable food security and nutrition .
Entrepreneurship programs to be encouraged among women to diversify from agriculture as well as to add value to agriculture product and market it. To keep away from money lenders and escape the vicious cycle of getting stuck with the loan sharks self-help group, seed money support programs etc. should be encouraged. Women are excellent in managing value chain processes. Small Support will help many women to become independent