Does the feminization of agricultural labor empower women? Investigating gender dynamics and cropping system inside rural smallholder households in Bangladesh

Crawford School of Public Policy | Resources, Environment and Development Group

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 14 March 2024


Seminar Room 3 JG Crawford Building 132 and Online Zoom


Mashrufah Khatun


Kat Taylor

Please join us for this RE&D Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) seminar.

Abstract Feminization of agriculture implies a lot of things, particularly the growing presence, visibility, and involvement of women in all agricultural activities both as wage workers and as unpaid family laborers. Against the backdrop of shifts in economic policies, urbanization, and climate change, the agricultural landscapes are changing everywhere, and Bangladesh is no exception in witnessing a significant rise in the participation of women. My research delves into the transformative phenomenon of the feminization of agricultural labor in Bangladesh, exploring its multifaceted consequences on gender equality, women’s well-being, and agricultural production practices. The research is guided by three interrelated goals: (1) examining the impact of feminization on gender equality within households, (2) assessing the effects of agricultural feminization on the subjective and objective well-being of women farmers, and (3) evaluating changes in agricultural production resulting from increased women’s involvement. I will use mixed methods approach including the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which includes five domains, i.e. resources, production, income, leadership, and time, along with subjective and objective well-being measures, and householding concepts. The study is field based which includes surveys, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs), participant observations, and biography recordings. As the feminization of agricultural labor unfolds, understanding its impacts on gender relations, women’s well-being, and agricultural production practices becomes imperative for shaping inclusive and effective policies in the evolving agricultural landscape of Bangladesh. The study findings hold significance for policy formulation and intervention strategies, contributing to the broader global agenda of achieving gender equality outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Biography Mashrufah Khatun is a PhD candidate at the Resource, Environment, and Development of Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, supported by the prestigious AGRTP scholarship. With a strong academic background, Mashrufah previously served as an Associate Professor at Bangladesh Agricultural University. Her expertise lies in the intersection of agricultural economics and public policy. Passionate about addressing gender dynamics in agriculture, her current research explores the implications of the feminization of agricultural labor on gender equality and women’s well-being in rural Bangladesh. Mashrufah brings a wealth of experience and commitment to advancing knowledge in agricultural policy and empowering women in the agricultural sector.

Speaker website link

PhD supervisory panel: Prof. Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Prof. John McCarthy, Associate Prof. Tanya Jakimow and Dr. Sonia Akter.

Seminar host Dr Simon West.

Student discussant Sri Lestari.

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