Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija – The Rice Science Museum established in this city is honoring the women rice workers in celebration of the 2015 National Women’s Month this March.
Following the celebration’s theme, Juana, Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa, Ikaw Na!, a 10-paneled photo exhibit is showcased to display how women help the other workers in rice. Titled, The Woman of Rice, the exhibit is based on a 2008 study, Who are the Women in Agriculture? by Maria Daryl L. Leyesa of the Centro Saka Inc.
The study showed that in general, more women in the rice sector exercise decision-making in most production concerns than men. Women decide matters concerning farm capital, on growing and selling vegetables, and on raising and selling the livestock.
Study also showed that men in farming communities depend on the women on household matters such as medication in times of illness, what food to prepare or cook, what household appliances to buy, whom to vote during elections, and where to get money in emergencies.
“Taking care or keeping an eye on children is simultaneously done with whatever they are doing in the farm or in the house. Off farm, the women prepare the tools for farm labor, does gardening, food foraging, wood gathering, and poultry or livestock raising,” Leyesa said.
Leyesa said that women spend as long as 11 hours of daily work during the planting and harvesting seasons and they spend longer times than the men in pesticide application for snails, planting, and weeding.
“Women allot 2.33 more days in harvesting than men and 2.75 more days in drying rice,” she said.
Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had emphasized the role of women in agriculture as they comprise about 43 percent of the global agricultural labor force.
“Women comprise half or more of the agricultural labor force in many African and Asian countries. The labor burden of rural women exceeds that of men, and includes a higher proportion of unpaid household responsibilities related to preparing food and collecting fuel and water,” FAO reported.
FAO added that agricultural development, economic growth, and food security will be strengthened and accelerated if “national governments and the international community build on the contributions that women make and take steps to alleviate these constraints.”
The Gender and Development Initiatives of the Philippine Rice Research Institute funded the photo exhibit.