Women farmers have repeatedly expressed their acute concern over the last three months, about how the three farm laws will affect their lives
Around 50,000 women farmers joined their male counterparts at Singhu and Tikri on the borders of Delhi March 8, 2021 to celebrate their unique and long-standing participation in India’s largest farmers’ protest.
Women cultivators and agricultural labourers perform 70 per cent of all agricultural activities, according to a report published by international coalition of non-profits, Oxfam International.
Yet, their contribution is invisibilised and they are not acknowledged as farmers, according to the report. Despite their marginal status within the agricultural sector, women’s contribution to the ongoing farmers’ protests remains unprecedented and they are fulfilling multiple roles and responsibilities within the movement.
“The way women have lent support to the ongoing farmers’ protests deserves to be celebrated. The whole world today is celebrating their contribution and the recent TIME magazine cover dedicated to women farmers is only one example of that,” Navsharan Kaur, from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said.
“Several revolutionary slogans from within Punjab have also emerged that convey women’s commitment to the ongoing movement. One slogan among them is: bacha bacha jhok denge zamin pe karza rok denge (We will feed the furnace of revolution with our children. We will pay back the dues to the land),” Kaur added.
Women farmers have repeatedly expressed their acute concern over the last three months, about how the three controversial farm laws will affect their lives.
Kuljeet Kaur from Samyukt Kisan Morcha shared, “These three laws threaten to completely ruin our lives, our homes and our kitchens. When farmers don’t have money, how will they send their daughters to schools? It is a matter of our collective future,” she said.
Even though the key demand of women farmers remains the repeal of the three farm laws, as well as an assurance of minimum support prices, several other issues about women’s working conditions in the field were raised during the women’s day celebration.
“Whenever we talk about Women’s Day, we cannot ignore the fact that the largest number of women counted as workers are from agriculture. Women farmers at Singhu and Tikri are actively talking about sexual harassment, issues of Dalit landless women and women’s access to education and health-related facilities,” Kavita Kuruganti of ASHA Kisan Swaraj said.
Several women farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report that suggested that farmers should have assured access to and control over basic resources such as land, water, credit and insurance.
Women farmers and organisers have also demanded the release of all women political prisoners including the activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.
They are actively extending support to several other people-based movements that are resisting several oppressive laws brought in by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government.
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