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In developing countries women’s contribution to agriculture is substantial though they are not recognized as women farmers. Land rights to women are also minimal as they do not have ownership in many cases. However, there is a close interrelationship between women and agriculture in developing countries as the nature of work necessitates those women workforce is required in some activities inevitably which include paddy transplantation, weeding and harvesting etc.
Women contribute directly and indirectly to the development process beginning from unpaid care work to the family members, their participation in agriculture and other sectors. In fact, they participate in substantial numbers in agricultural operations, while industry and service sectors in small numbers and able to get a job despite male domination. They lack education, information and access to resources when compared to men, treated differently by men and given back seat in every sphere of life. Despite their critical role in every area, they are being forgotten in many societies while ensuring their welfare. In nutshell, women are neglected, stymied and marginalized in the development process leading to ‘twice alienated’ for being women in the society.
The equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys are important to ensure as there is deep-rooted inequality in the society. Equality means that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration by recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men. Besides, gender equity means the process of being fair to men and women.
Gender inequalities are explicit in statistics depicting differences in sex ratio, child infanticide, literacy rates, health and nutrition indicators, wage differentials and ownership of land and other assets. Implicit gender inequalities are located in the household and are far harder to capture in statistics. Intra-household inequalities result in unequal distribution of resources; of control and decision making and unfair, unequal distribution of work, drudgery and even food. Moreover, entrenched inequality of outcomes can significantly undermine individual’s health, educational and occupational choices.
Against the background, it is an attempt to explore the women’s role in agriculture, development process while appreciating the unpaid care work to the family. The special issue will cover the aspects of girl child education, women employment in different sectors of economy, political participation of women, social mobilization and institution building, promotion of livelihood opportunities to women, ending discrimination and violence against women and girls; finally, showcasing their role at a family and community level. Hence, putting women’s rights at the centre of all our efforts we would like to bring to the fore the commitments of gender equality and gender mainstreaming that translate into action throughout the world. Therefore, thrust was given to women’s empowerment in SDGs for which all nations are signatories presumably working towards achieving the same.