Mother India. The Other India.

Stree, Kolkata, have a new book out. Gender, Food Security and Rural Livelihoods, edited by Maithreyi Krishnaraj, is about the crisis in Indian agriculture. Men are migrating from farms to towns, cities or other rural areas in search of work, leaving the running of farms to women. The resulting ‘feminization’ has ominous implications for food security and rural livelihoods. Women seem to be in a no-win situation where work burdens and responsibilities have increased without enhancement of productivity or earnings. While the economic importance of land has declined (its contribution to the gross national product has been reduced), it still employs the great majority of the population who are unskilled, overburdened and malnourished.

The reality is that women lack rights to land. Meanwhile technological change means that women lose their jobs like threshing rice or making rice products at home. They may get jobs in rice mills, but at low wages. They end up having less to eat when they never got enough anyway.

The book examines conceptual and macro issues and also presents field studies, discussing the day-to-day implications of the crisis. With contributions from Sara Ahmed, Pralhad Burli, Barbara Harriss-White, Mahabub Hossain, Aruna Kanchi, Praveena Kodoth, Maithreyi Krishnaraj, Joyce Luis, Kanchan Mathur, Alka Parikh, Thelma Paris, Nitya Rao, Amita Shah, Abha Singh and Swarna Vepa, the book offers a new look at the hidden costs of modernizing India.

In the Economics and Gender Studies sections of Scholars. Rs 600, 402pages, Hardcover. ISBN 81-85604-89-4

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