Letting (Some of ) India’s Women Own Land
On March 22 Tina Rosenberg penned an opinion piece for the New York Times by the above title. In it she examined a crack in the male dominated armor of Indian culture, something which may positively change centuries-old prejudice against women controlling their own destiny and owning farmland. She reports that more than 75% of the women in that country are farmers yet less than 13% of those women owned their own land. This effectively cements their status as second class citizens. While laws do exist to give women access opportunities, cultural barriers to change remain. Ms Rosenburg’s excellent article deserves a careful reading.
“Without title, female farmers acting on their own don’t have access to credit, subsidies, government programs for seeds, irrigation or fertilizer. They cannot get loans and do not invest to improve their yields. They live in fear that someone more powerful — which is everyone — can kick them off their land.
When women’s incomes suffer, so do their children. More than 40 percent of all children under 5 in India are malnourished. And India’s agricultural productivity is needlessly diminished.”