Women have always, of course, been leaders in family farm operations, though this leadership has long been erased, demeaned, and thwarted. Gender-based biases in agriculture unfold differently across contexts and times, with patriarchy working alongside and through place-specific dynamics of racism, classism, ageism, and ethno-nationalism. Yet, parallels emerge: dominant agro-industrial models and markets have excluded women, even as they have made use of women’s work, skills and knowledge, in an exploitative ‘feminization’ of devalued agricultural labor. To counter such longstanding disparities and discrimination, the transnational agrarian movements, notably La Via Campesina, are foregrounding feminism in their global activism. They are reclaiming the term and re-grounding it in the lived struggles, experiences, and visions of women and men across rural and urban contexts. This entails acknowledging and uplifting, celebrating and expanding female--and particularly women-of-color--leadership in farms, fields, food forests, gardens, fisheries, urban plots, community organizations, and political institutions the world over. It also entails asserting that agricultural viability necessitates ending violence against women and LGBTQ communities, and ending racism and coloniality. These are bold, important goals. How does this multi-faceted, robust call for agrarian feminism/womanism play out in different contexts? What political ecology scholarship and community-scholar partnerships are needed?
This double session continues a Dimensions of Political Ecology tradition of merging academic and practitioner analyses of agrarian issues. This year, the scholarly session will bring researchers, faculty, and students together to share original scholarship on the topic of women leadership, intersectional agrarian feminism, and gender-equity in agriculture. The current demographic shifts in the US, for instance, are bringing forth more female principal operators. Can policy, extension, and markets catch up? What are the constraints to gender and racial equity in land tenure--in the US and elsewhere? We invite original research, social theory interventions, methodological reflections, decolonial strategies, literature reviews, datasets, legal and policy analysis, geographies, histories, political ecologies, and political economies--all to help shed light on this important subject.
After a round of scholarly information, analysis, and discussion, we’ll embark upon the practitioner panel. We are fortunate to have a number of Kentucky and Appalachia-based women farmers, community leaders, and advocates sharing their experiences and expertise in this roundtable. We envision this double-session as an interactive space of dialogue, mutual learning, and community-building. Join us.
If you are interested in participating, please send a 250-word abstract to Garrett (firstname.lastname@example.org) by December 1, 2017.