Work of Women Farmers: Maya Rao

नाम है औरत: The Name is Woman

My Ph.D thesis was on Women’s Participation in Indian Agriculture. It was published as a book by Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. in 1992. A few copies survive!

The book started with: “One striking characteristic of female participation in the labour force is its diversity. Male participation if very predictable. Males are expected to enter the labour force when young and withdraw from it only when they are forced to retire. Hence there is very little variation in male participation. Female participation varies considerably across countries as well as among different regions in a country. The level of female participation in a region is determined by a host of social, economic and cultural factors. It is also determined by several entries and exits associated with the life cycle of the woman and events such as marriage, child birth and divorce.”

After analysing various phenomenon operating in Indian agriculture and women work as formers and agricultural labourers, the book ended with: “The rural labour market conditions have a significant impact on whether and which class of women participate in the work force. The present study underlines the need to examine and specify these conditions very carefully at the local and regional level for a better understanding of the processes which influence women’s participation in agriculture.”

I moved to study women’s work in non-agriculture, the informal sector and as women entrepreneurs. The struggle for women in agriculture and all these sectors remains as depicted by the women farmers in the recent protest.

I saw this performance by Maya Krishna Rao (on video) on the occasion of Women Farmers Day, at the largest protest at the Singhu Border, outskirts of Delhi, on January 18, 2021. Maya Krishna Rao is a theatre artist with a mission of depicting struggles, protest and what it is to be a woman. She is the queen of the ‘Protest Theatre’! She is a stand-up comedian and social activist

Her performance here essaying Women’s Work and Contribution to Agriculture, put all our research as Economists to shame. What a powerful performance, she does not believe in mincing words. Watch: The Name is Woman नाम है औरत

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