South Asian farmers’ movements have been and continue to be nonviolent, mass based forces for agrarian reform and food sovereignty. In the face of climate change and Industrial agriculture, farmers’ movements fight for small agriculturalists to remain as the base of a sustainable, just food system, often through street politics and civil disobedience.Women farmers and farm laborers’ ought to be farmers’ movements’ largest constituency. Women do the majority of farm work, bear the brunt of farming families’ hardship, and have proven to be successful community organizers,yet their rights are not upheld. They remain invisible. Women protect seed heritage, biodiversity, landholdings, and traditional knowledge systems. However, in very few local languages the word “farmer” exists in the feminine conjugation, and in very few movements’ women farmers’ issues are championed and women participate meaningfully. They don’t have access to land or even basic legal entitlements. This must not continue. We must support peasant women’s leadership within our organizations. We must support the struggle for equal partnership between men and women in farming and women’s equal ownership over resources.
We are members of farmers movements from across South Asia and today on October 15, Rural Women’s Day, we celebrate the immense leadership and contribution of peasant women to our food sovereignty.
*(Picture Credit -Internet)