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Work and Empowerment: Women and Agriculture in South India


  • Smriti Rao


This article explores the implications of women's work in agriculture in Telangana, a region in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. I suggest that higher capital costs for cultivators' post-liberalisation increased the pressure to contain wage costs in a region where women form the majority of the agricultural wage labour force. Under such conditions, when women perform both own-cultivation as well as agricultural wage work in the fields of others, they face pressure to restrict bargaining for higher wages, contributing to a widening gender wage gap. To the extent that wages shape intra-household bargaining power, the empowering effect of workforce participation for such women would thus be blunted. From available NSS data I provide some preliminary evidence in support of this argument.

Suggested Citation

  • Smriti Rao, 2011. "Work and Empowerment: Women and Agriculture in South India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 294-315.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:2:p:294-315
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.506910

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