Women in Agriculture
It is also widely understood that women interact closely with the natural resource environment as users of forest products, aromatic and medicinal plants, natural dyes, and raw materials for arts and crafts. Also, as managers of home gardens, women are both managers of biodiversity as well as providers of balanced meals to their families. Traditionally, there was a clear division of labor between men and women in agriculture; women were involved in time-consuming and tedious work such as digging, weeding, and transplanting whereas men’s share of the labor was
dependent on physically intensive work such as plowing, collection of firewood and pruning of fruit trees.
However, the trend in the last decade or so has seen a lessening of the role of men in agriculture due to migration and their involvement in development activities such as the construction of houses and roads and other contractual works. This has led to what is known as the “feminization of agriculture” and means that women are required to pick up the slack which is not always possible due to physical limitations and other factors.
As most able-bodied men leave their villages, the ones left behind are mostly women, children, and elderly people. Nevertheless, this has presented an opportunity for Tarayana Foundation to further enhance our intervention in empowering women and achieving the national goal of self-sufficiency. One of our beneficiaries, Nim Pem Doya, a 38-year-old from Ngawang Dramtoe village in Samtse district (southern Bhutan) shares her experience in achieving positive impact as a result of the Foundation’s effort. She expressed, “The people here had a long history of dietary issues and they neither practiced proper growing of vegetables nor possessed the knowledge on nutrition.
With Tarayana’s help, we are now equipped to grow various vegetables like chili, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, beans, and many more crops not just for self-consumption but for commercial purposes. This has been possible due to the supply of seeds and saplings and other tools along with training provided to build our knowledge and capacity.” She jovially added, “The initiatives taken helped our community become independent. To date, I have been able to make and save around Ngultrum 16,000 per month and this is the case for many of us here. We are delighted and look forward to being and doing better not just for our families but for the country at large.”