Women Involvement in Agricultural and Allied Sectors - An Overview

Femal Farmer
Femal Farmer

India is backbone of agriculture. Large majority of the people depend on agriculture and in allied sectors for their livelihood. In development of agricultural and related sectors, women have played a large and significant role. The type and degree of women's agricultural participation vary considerably by area.

Regardless of these differences, women are active participants in a variety of agricultural tasks. According to Census 2011, agricultural laborers made up 55% of all female primary workers, while cultivators made up 24%. Women, on the other hand, controlled just 12.8 percent of the operating holdings, reflecting the gender divide in agricultural land ownership. Furthermore, women's operational ownership (25.7%) are concentrated in the marginal and small holdings groups. 

Involvement of Women in agricultural activities

Agriculture is India's most populous economic sector and plays a vital part in the country's overall socioeconomic structure. Nearly 70–75 percent of rural households rely on agriculture for their livelihood, with 82 percent of farm families in India belonging to marginal or small farmers, and farming is not just a business for these families, but a way of life in which all family members, including children, contribute their mites in some way.

Women engage in a variety of agricultural tasks, including the following:

  • Land preparation

  • Sowing

  • Nursery management

  • Transplanting

  • Weeding

  • Irrigation

  • Fertilizer application

  • Plant protection

  • Harvesting,

  • Winnowing,

  • Storing etc

Women in post-harvest activities

Historians believe that women were the ones who first tamed the crop and began the art and science of farming. Women are seen to play a larger part in post-harvest activities in the majority of developing countries, including India, as compared to other agricultural operations. Post-harvest operations like as drying, storing, cleaning, washing, grading, and packaging, among others, are dominated by women.

Women in Horticulture (Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers)

  • Field Preparation

  • Leveling of land

  • Stubble collection

  • Cleaning of field bunds

  • Manure application

  • Seed cleaning

  • Seed treatments

  • Seed sowing

  • Transplanting of Seedlings

  • Pit digging

  • Planting of fruit trees

  • Irrigation

  • Weeding

  • Fertilizer application

  • Crop watch

  • Training and pruning

  • Harvesting

  • Cleaning& Collection

  • Sorting and grading

Women in livestock

The major source of revenue is livestock, which is utilized to satisfy family food demands as well as enhance agricultural income. The tradition of giving an animal as part of a woman's dowry is widespread in rural regions. According to studies, rural women supplement their income by selling milk and animals. Women play an important role in livestock management particularly goat /poultry/ dairy/ piggery/fishery/duckery/rearing etc, processing and marketing, acting as care providers, feed gatherers, and birth attendants. They are also involved in milk production, although not all women control the sale of milk and its products. Identifying and supporting women’s roles as livestock owners, processors and users of livestock products while strengthening their decision-making power and capabilities, are key aspects in promoting women’s economic and social empowerment and consequently provides a way to enable rural women to break the cycle of poverty, Tripathi et al (2015).

Tasks that are mostly done by women in cattle management

  • Cleaning the animals and sheds

  • Watering the cattle

  • Milking the animals

  • Collecting fodder

  • Preparing dung cakes

  • Collecting farm yard waste

All other livestock management operations, with the exception of grazing, are dominated by women. Men, on the other hand, share the burden of caring for sick animals. Women clearly play a prominent role in the production and administration of cattle.

Women in cattle management activities

  • Cleaning of animal and sheds

  • Watering of cattle

  • Milking the animals

  • Fodder collection

  • Preparation of dung cakes

  • Collection farm yard manure

Women in poultry

Poultry farming is a key source of income in rural areas. In the poultry business, the proportion of female engagement in poultry farming at the household level is crucial.

  • Cleaning and maintaining poultry sheds

  • Feeding and watering

  • Closing the bird in the poultry shed

  • Collection of eggs

  • Keeping the eggs for hatching

  • Selection of poultry bird for breeding

  • Culling

Women in fisheries

In India, 5.4 million individuals are projected to be completely involved in fishing operations, with 3.8 million fisherman and 1.6 million fisherwomen (OECD, 2014) In the fishing industry, women play a critical role. Men are more likely to engage in active marine fishing, while a tiny number of women participate in near-shore fishing, seaweed harvesting, and clam, mussel, and bivalves gathering.

The types of fisheries activities taken up by women include the following

  • Net mending

  • Fishing

  • Sorting

  • Auctioning

  • Cleaning

  • Grading

  • Processing

  • Drying

  • Salting

  • Cutting

  • Peeling

  • Marketing


Involvement of women in the agricultural and allied sectors is seen high, whether through traditional or industrial means, for subsistence or as agricultural laborers. Women's roles and contributions are no longer debatable, since the number of women in rural India who rely on agriculture for their living is estimated to be as high as 84 percent. Agriculture and allied sectors is a family business in which each member contributes significantly to the production and post-production processes. Women in Indian society occupy a variety of roles, including supervisors, cultivators, and agricultural laborers, with the majority of them involved in post-harvest tasks. It is very important to recognize women contribution in agriculture and allied activities.


Bojjagani Jhansi 1, Dr. Surekha Sankangoudar 2, Bojjagani Babitha 2, Dr. Geeta Chitagubbi 3

1. Ph.D Scholar, College of Community Sciences, Dept. Extension and Communication Management University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, Mail id: jhansibrp@gmail.com

2. Dr. Surekha Sankangoudar, Associate professor, Dept of Extension and Communication Management University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, Mail id: surekhaks@uasd.in

3. P.G Scholar, College of Home Science, Dept. Human Development and Family Studies, Acharya. N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Guntur, Mail id: babithabojjagani98@gmail.com

4. Senior Scientist, AICRP on Home Science (Family resource management) College of Community Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, Mail.Id: gnbenagi@gmailcom


Dutta, B., Deka, M.B. and Das. M.D. 2018. Decision making pattern of rural women in different poultry management activities. International Journal of Home Science. 4(1): 151-155





Jhansi , B., 2020. Involvement of women in post-harvest activities of dry chilli- A comparative study in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. M.H.Sc Thesis, College of Community Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka.

Tripathi, P, C., Babu, N and Prustry, M., 2015. Analysis of participation of women in horticultural activities.  Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (JBM&SSR).  4(3)

Share your comments

FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters