IWMI Nepal’s Fraser Sugden and Stephanie Leder chaired a WLE-IWMI panel discussion titled “Geographies of migration, gender and agrarian change in the Global South” at the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) [RGS-IGB] Conference 2016 in London on August 31. Fraser opened the session by emphasizing the severity and wide-ranging effects of migration on agriculture.
In her presentation, Stephanie described her research on the linkages between migration and gender norms in Far West Nepal. While much attention has been given to the shifting divisions of labor, Stephanie’s research delved deeper, analyzing the changes in gender relations and norms that underlie the new distributions of work in these communities. Her findings made it clear that power structures still exist that inhibit female farmers’ ability to adapt to changing environmental and economic conditions.
Presentations by researchers from WAC, ARC, ICRISAT, MLU, IIHS, and BAI provided further insight into the regional differences within the larger phenomenon of the feminization of agriculture. In the discussion following the presentations, the panel recommended the formation of collectives, which can increase bargaining power and decrease harassment, as a step towards creating communities with less inequality and vulnerability post-migration.