Women are the silent heroes who quietly contribute a lot by nurturing millions of families and by being instrumental in the progress of India. They are the backbone of our nation. The latest census indicates that about 80% of women in rural areas in our country are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
But the times are changing with the idea of ‘womenpreneurs’ being welcomed by society today. While agriculture is a largely male-dominated area, women are breaking the glass ceiling and making their mark.
Take, for instance, the story of Rita Kamila, also known as the model farmer of the Sundarbans. She has worked single-handedly to achieve the perfect mix of organic farming and animal husbandry in a climate change hotspot. She also installed a bio-digester plant to dispose of the waste from the livestock and used it to provide nutrients to the crops.
Atram Padma Bai, a 37-year-old woman from a village of Telangana is a part of Fairtrade India and cultivates red gram, cotton, soya, castor and black gram in her 3-acre family property. Her venture is called Chetna Organics and have successfully invested in tools that reduce the drudgery. She was also elected as the Sarpanch of eight villages with more than 2000 Fairtrade farmers. Her prowess and dedication have got her sanctions to make ponds for rainwater harvesting and made clean water available to the village schools through motor pumps.
Aparna Rajgopal, an ex-lawyer and a self-taught farmer has founded Beejom, an animal sanctuary and a sustainable agricultural farm in 2014. With the help of extensive amounts of dung collected by over 106 cattle, goats, pigs, geese and roosters, barren land has turned fertile. Swiss chard, toor daal, kale, mango-ginger are amongst the fresh produce of her land. Apart from leveraging primary permaculture and traditional techniques of farming, she has helped several village residents of UP, empowering them with education, sanitation and healthcare.
The role of women in a country’s progress is immeasurable. Many women farmers are now coming forward and taking the lead to find innovative and lasting solutions for challenges in the society.
Women have risen up to the challenges and prevailed; from driving tractors to operating heavy machinery, they now find no limits. With rural migration, the onus of taking agriculture has fallen on women. In Punjab and Haryana, women manage entire farms with a little help from others and a whole lot of confidence.
We acknowledge and salute the contribution of these unsung heroes to our society.