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A Toolkit for Unpacking Gender Dynamics of Migration in Rice-based Agricultural Systems in South Asia

Mohan, Rohini Ram; Puskur, Ranjitha

Studies exploring gender dynamics in migration have so far been wanting in methodological rigour. In the context of South Asia, mixed method studies continue to be few and lacking in interdisciplinary content. Prominent quantitative studies have dominated the assessment of gendered ‘impacts’ of migration in agricultural livelihoods, particularly that of male out-migration1 (Paris et al 2005; Desai & Banerji 2008; Lokshin & Glinksya 2009; Singh et al. 2011; Maharjan et al 2012; Singh et al. 2014; Slavchevska et al. 2018), with the exceptions of a few qualitative studies (Gartaula et al. 2010; Datta & Mishra 2011; Tamang et al . 2014, Debnath & Selim 2009). Within these , most studies have been limited to themes of labour participation, distribution of household and farm roles, and household decision making dynamics in a few areas , highlighting a few mixed effects of migration. Despite the growing interest in the subject, there is an absence of conceptual clarity and innovative tools in framing gender , explaining and capturing the diversity of ways in which gender dynamics define experiences in migrant societies.

This toolkit was developed to support mixed methods research to explore how gender dynamics is constitutive of male migration, in the context of eastern India, in line with a conceptual framework developed to address the existing gaps in literature. Viewing migration as a prominent household livelihood trajectory, the scope of ‘gender dynamics’ explored in the toolkit and framework includes (i) Understanding of the power inequalities and the vulnerabilities that engender migration (ii) assets, capitals and resources that shape and are shaped by migration (iii) Habitus and (iv) Life cycle and interrelated trajectories.

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