Gendered time, seasonality and nutrition: insights from two Indian districts

Relatively few studies explore the links between women’s work in agriculture and nutritional outcomes. Using time use data from two Indian districts, this paper seeks to fill this gap. In principle, women’s agricultural work could have positive and negative implications for nutrition, through increased control over incomes resulting in improved diets to intensifying work burdens leading to tensions and trade-offs between their agricultural work and care responsibilities, as well as attention to their own health.

The emerging evidence points to the nuanced ways in which social identity, seasonality and context mediate to shape women’s work in agriculture and consequently food intakes and feeding practices. Overall, women’s work in agriculture seems to have a negative effect on household nutrition through two pathways: lack of adequate time for care work in peak agricultural seasons and seasonal energy with consequent losses in body weight. Recognition of women’s contribution to both agricultural production and domestic reproduction, and supporting them adequately, is central to improving nutritional outcomes.

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South Asia Focus

Funded by UK DFID

This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies

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