Indian Farmers

Women Farmers Day Honours Their Role in the Forefront of the Indian Farmers' Fight for Rights

 January 18, the 55th day of the farmers' protests at the Delhi border, was marked as Mahila Kisan Diwas (Women Farmers Day) to honour the contribution of women in the mobilization to repeal the farm laws. The day saw broad participation by women in more than 300 districts in India with large marches and tractor rallies organized, some targeting members of the central government in their home regions. Women at the main camp at the Tikri border organized programs to mark the day.

One of the reasons the tribute to the women's role in the forefront of the protests was organized was in defiance of the statement made January 11 by Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde at a hearing regarding the farm laws when he asked why women and elders were being "kept" in the protest, suggesting they should be "persuaded" to return home, and threatening that the court might pass an order in this regard.

Women have been very active in the mobilization in their villages against the farm bills since the summer and while more and more women join the protest camps at the Tikri and Singhu borders, many others continue to organize in the local areas as well as run their family farms, while other family members participate at the Delhi borders.

Young women students, the daughters of farmers, have been joining in creating awareness using social media and holding discussions in the villages, encouraging women to join the protests. At Tikri and Singhu borders they often take the stage to address the protesters.

Older women have also joined the protests. One woman at a camp on the Delhi border told reporters, "I have never been in a protest before, but I would happily die for my land and for my future generation. ... We will fight for our rights."

Women will be particularly severely affected by the new farm laws. According to a 2018 Oxfam report, 81 per cent of all economically active women work in the agriculture industry -- 33 per cent of them as agricultural labourers while 48 per cent are self-employed farmers. "They remain central to farming, where they do most of the sowing, transplantation, harvesting, food processing, and more." Of the rural women involved in agriculture, the Oxfam report states, only 13 per cent own land.

Camp at Singhu Border crossing, Delhi.

Katehra, Punjab



(Photos: jaitrejait, Bharti Kisan Union, Sukhvir, NBT Dilli, A. Kaur, M. Sanghamitra, MAKAAM)

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 2 - February 7, 2021

Article Link:
Women Farmers Day Honours Their Role in the Forefront of the
Indian Farmers' Fight for Rights


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