In a recent literature review focusing on agrarian societies in the drylands, ICARDA scientist Dina Najjar and Ph.D. student Jemima Baada at Western University in Canada investigate how outmigration of men affect women’s roles in agriculture, as well as the wider effect in different contexts of the dry areas (rangeland, irrigated production and rainfed).
The study revealed that women are carrying out more labor, both on and off farms, and that feminization of agrarian labor may reduce women’s earnings at the detriment to household incomes and make them more susceptible to economic, social, and cultural marginalization.
The study results highlight the need for more studies in dryland areas on the effects of a migration-related feminization of rural labor on women’s economic and psychosocial wellbeing. They speak to the importance of developing interventions specially tailored to mitigate negative effects on women while protecting women by leveraging the positive effects of feminization of agricultural labor. The study also speaks to the crucial need for development interventions targeted at structural changes instead of initiatives that only focus on micro scales, such as at the individual and household level, that might offer only a limited change in the women’s wellbeing in agrarian migrant-sending societies. The study is important because the types and duration of, and reasons for, migration have significant implications for women’s livelihoods in dry areas and most likely in other understudied agrarian societies across developing countries.
ICARDA would like to thank the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) and CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (CRP PIM) for the financial support for the above study.