Technological change and women’s participation in crop production in Bangladesh
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There is a dearth of information on the employment effects of modern agricultural tech nology on rural women in Bangladesh. The present study1 looks at women's participation in crop production activities, examines their influence in the diffusion of modern technol ogy and their participation in the hired labor market. Data for this study comes from two intensive surveys conducted in the crop years 1989 and 1996 in three agro-ecological regions of Bangladesh. Findings suggest that the prevailing claim-that women are involved only in post- harvest processing of crops-underestimates their contribution to agricultural production. Women's share of total labor is 10-18 percent in foodgrain production and 6-48 percent in non-cereal crop production. Increased demand for labor owing to technological change is almost entirely being met by hiring male labor. The few women who are hired are paid significantly lower wages than men, revealing unequal opportunities and a lack of bar gaining power for women in the hired labor market. An analysis of the behavior determining the adoption of modern technology indicates lack of women's participation in technology adoption decisions. An examination of the determinants of labor demand indicate that an increased labor demand is met with more female family labor, thereby increasing the women's workload. A decentralized crop di versification policy coupled with a policy of equal minimum wage for men and women could promote women's gainful employment. Also, gender-sensitive educational programs through collaborations between government and NGOs could work towards a balanced development in the long run. © 1998, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
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