As a part of our ongoing research on empowering rural communities digitally, the research department of Digital Empowerment Foundation produced two reports on Understanding Agriculture and ICT Practices in India and Enhancing Livelihood of Artisans and Weavers in Knowledge Economy in the month of February 2020. Both the reports have tried to shed light on the agricultural practices, marketing strategies of weavers and artisans and the usage of ICT skills by farmers as well as artisans and weavers.
Traditionally, both the sectors have been the largest employer of women but in the research females respondents as farmers comprised of 10% of the 735 respondents that were surveyed, while females working as weavers and artisans comprised 26% of the 2031 respondents. 56% of 77 women said that the head of the family takes the decision regarding selection of land, productivity, cultivation and sale of agricultural produce although men take the decision but women folk provide their inputs. Women as wives form the largest source of workforce in terms of family labor involvement both in agriculture sector and handloom/handicraft sectors. 76% of 735 respondent’s wives work in the field with them while in the sector of handicraft and handlooms 45% of 2032 respondents wives work with them in their workshop. 67% of 241 women do not undertake any leadership role at household and community level. These findings highlight that women’s labor often comes as disguised employment especially in the informal sectors such as agriculture, handicraft or even care-work. There is a need to encourage more and more women to take up leadership roles starting from their houses and eventually in community as well.