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Gendered Roles in Agrarian Transition: A Study of Lowland Rice Farming in Lao PDR

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  • Magnus Moglia

    (Center for Urban Transitions, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn 3122, Victoria, Australia
    Tjikko and Swift Consulting, Woodend 3442, Victoria, Australia)

  • Kim S. Alexander

    (College of Business, Law & Governance, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Queensland, Australia)

  • Silva Larson

    (School of Science and Engineering, University of Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore 4558, Queensland, Australia)

  • Anne (Giger)-Dray

    (Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ITES), ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Garry Greenhalgh

    (College of Business, Law & Governance, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Queensland, Australia)

  • Phommath Thammavong

    (Faculty of Agriculture, Nabong Campus, National University of Laos, Vientiane Capital P.O. Box 7322, Laos)

  • Manithaythip Thephavanh

    (School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae 5064, South Australia, Australia
    National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), Nongviengkham Village, Xaythany District, Vientiane Capital P.O. Box 7170, Laos)

  • Peter Case

    (College of Business, Law & Governance, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Queensland, Australia
    Bristol Business School, University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol BS16 1QY, UK)

Abstract

Traditional lifestyles of lowland rice farmers of the southern provinces of Lao People’s Democratic Republic are rapidly changing, due to two important trends. Firstly, there is a push towards modernization and commercialization of farming. Secondly, though farmers still focus on rice farming as a key activity, there is an increasing move towards diversification of livelihoods. The changes have seen the uptake of non-rice crops, livestock husbandry and forest and river utilization; as well as non-farming activities. This has influenced gender relations, impacting household agricultural production decisions and amplified transitional trends. To explore the processes, we analyzed data from a study of innovation adoption amongst rice farmers in southern Lao PDR. The study revealed nuances of gender-based differences in the priorities and attitudes towards farming and off-farm activities, as well as differences in behaviour related to the adoption of new practices. Women were more focused on non-farming practices and considered engaging in the modern, non-traditional, economy more so than men. Women also reported experiencing greater challenges when engaging and trading in the agricultural marketplace. The study supports the importance of taking a gendered approach to understanding the inherent complexities within agrarian change.

Suggested Citation

  • Magnus Moglia & Kim S. Alexander & Silva Larson & Anne (Giger)-Dray & Garry Greenhalgh & Phommath Thammavong & Manithaythip Thephavanh & Peter Case, 2020. "Gendered Roles in Agrarian Transition: A Study of Lowland Rice Farming in Lao PDR," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(13), pages 1-20, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:13:p:5403-:d:380164
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    1. Silva Larson & Anne (Giger)-Dray & Tina Cornioley & Manithaythip Thephavanh & Phomma Thammavong & Sisavan Vorlasan & John G. Connell & Magnus Moglia & Peter Case & Kim S. Alexander & Pascal Perez, 2020. "A Game-Based Approach to Exploring Gender Differences in Smallholder Decisions to Change Farming Practices: White Rice Production in Laos," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(16), pages 1-22, August.
    2. Pratyusha Basu & Alessandra Galiè, 2021. "Introduction to Special Issue: Gender and Rural Development: Sustainable Livelihoods in a Neoliberal Context," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(21), pages 1-4, November.

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