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SGOXXX10.1177/2158244013502984SAGE OpenKasi


Role of Women in Sericulture and
Community Development: A Study from
a South Indian Village

July-September 2013: 1­–11
© The Author(s) 2013
DOI: 10.1177/2158244013502984

Eswarappa Kasi1

In any discourse on sociology and anthropology, one fact that clearly emerges is that women can generally be trusted to
perform their duties with utmost care and attention. This is more so in the case of agriculture and allied activities. No
wonder women are playing a very important role in the sericulture industry. Their qualities like maternal instincts and loving
care of those under their charge prove to be very helpful in the successful breeding of silk worms. The sericulture industry
has opened up phenomenal employment avenues and helped women to become important players in the decision-making
process—whether in the household or in the community at large. The active involvement of women is very essential for the
success of the any community development initiative. This has been proved on many occasions all over the world—more
so in the developing countries. For instance, the success of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Andhra Pradesh and other states
of India is all due to the active role played by women. The thrust of this article is on the role of women in promotion of
sericulture activities in the village, and how their participation has led to community development. Given the above backdrop,
the present article is based on an empirical work undertaken in Kotha Indlu village, Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh
in South India. Sericulture is an important means for generating employment, income enhancement crop enterprises, and
is a most appropriate household activity. In all these activities, women have shown their mettle and performed their tasks
most skillfully. In the village under study, women are playing an important role in silk rearing and processing activities. This
article will endeavor to show how “sericulture,” an agro-based activity, has brought about overall development of individual
households, the village, and the community at large.
women, sericulture, community development, division of labor, South India

Numerous studies have brought out the vital role that women
have been playing in all farm-related activities—ranging from
land preparation to marketing. They constitute a higher proportion of the labor force in the agricultural sector than men.
However, they are generally not active in decision making in
the community (Barman, 2001; Bose, Ahmed, & Hossain,
2009; Joshi, 2000; Nathan & Kelkar, 1997; Rahman &
Routray, 1998; Satyavathi, Bharadwaj, & Brahmanand, 2010).
However, in the present study, it has been found that women
are equally involved in decision making in their households,
as well as in the village. The study by Regmi and Weber (1997)
has critically assessed the existing gender relations in agriculture, in the cross-cultural, historical, and contemporary perspectives. Barman (2001) argued that social and cultural
constraints lead to less mobility of women and less involvement in income-earning activities in far-off places. Women are
largely involved in unpaid housework and crop production
and livestock rearing within their homestead areas.
Sericulture, as a crop enterprise, has emerged as one of the
dominant fields in the theoretical and methodological

understanding in the disciplines of sociology and social
anthropology in India. Thus, sociological analysis of sericulture and its emergence in the development literature gives us
an idea of the activity which would trigger further theoretical
and critical studies. Here an attempt has been made to understand the sociological view of sericulture and women’s role in
the development of the enterprise and also the community.
It has been seen that the sericulture activity brings regular
income to the community without any bias of caste, creed,
gender, or religion. A remarkable feature of this activity is its
egalitarianism—sericulture farmers, rich and poor, earn the
same income from it. As women has a crucial role in the
activities of sericulture, it equally creates opportunities and
make them independent socially, economically, politically,

National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, AP, India

Corresponding Author:
Eswarappa Kasi, Centre for Women Development & Gender Studies,
National Institute of Rural Development, University of Hyderabad,
Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, AP 500030, India.

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Attracted by these advantages. can contribute to the success of sericulture and. Karnataka has been the leading producer of mulberry silk—accounting for more than 50% of its production in the country.383. Sericulture is essentially a village-based industry that provides employment to both skilled and unskilled labor (Lakshmanan & Jayram. and Tamil Nadu. and so on. The last section “Summary and Conclusion” will summarize the article. India has made tremendous progress in the production of mulberry silk for which there is an increasing international demand. and Kurnool. and the role of children in sericulture activities. the premier silk-producing state in the country. Karnataka.525 metric tonnes of mulberry raw silk. & de Ruijter. women in relation to DWCRA. 1986). twisting. making it capable of generating huge revenues. concept of work. The article is organized into four sections. 1-5) and is also an industry. Chittoor. According to the Annual Report of the Central Silk Board (CSB) for the year 2007-2008. India recorded a production of 16. Kasi (2000) rightly opined. namely.814 sericulture villages contributed to the production of raw silk. sericulture has proved to be a money-spinner for many middle-class families. the mulberry silk production is mainly concentrated in the four Rayalaseema districts. considerable progress has been achieved in evolving suitable mulberry varieties and techniques to evolve new silkworm species suitable for tropical climatic conditions. namely. 2010. irrespective of gender and age. With the evolution and introduction of more productive silkworm species. In its long history. Orissa. division of labor. 2016 . The market share of Indian silk exports in the global silk trade is 4% to 5%. the second largest producer of silk in the world. Mulberry silk accounts for about 90% of the total production in the country (Geetha & Indira. Although sericulture is considered a subsidiary occupation. segregation of occupations. the productivity has increased and sericulture has become a highly remunerative activity. However. China’s contribution to world silk production is 80% (78. and mulberry. This includes the concept of work. and Tamil Nadu. The 2007 Mulberry Silk Production Statistics estimated the world silk production to be 98. At present. and tropical (West Bengal. A total of 796. This state is now regarded as the “Silk Bowl of India. 33. Pillai & Shanta. many more farmers have taken up sericulture and the industry has spread to almost all the States in India (Balasubramanian. mulberry is being cultivated in about 0. Cuddapah. At present. 2002).” Andhra Pradesh comes next to Karnataka. it is estimated that every hectare of mulberry plants provides employment to about 16 persons. followed by Andhra Pradesh. Once confined to a few pockets in Anantapur and Chittoor districts bordering Karnataka. Goyal.000 metric tonnes). de Groot. Vasanthi. Around 6 million people from around 800. 2010. Andhra Pradesh.685 sericulture families from 53. Himachal Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh. respectively. Uttar Pradesh. Anantapur. division of labor. 2010-2011).000 farm families are engaged in sericulture activities. “Sericulture is a labour-intensive agro-based activity” (p. China and India together account for 93% of world silk production. The second section “Methodology” will deal with the methodology used for the study and ethnographic profile of the village and community. feeding. in the entire state in production of mulberry raw silk. almost all the districts in the State have taken to sericulture activity. All family members. Background India. It includes growing of mulberry plants.192 million hectares in India. 2011. Export earnings from silk and silk goods were Rs. production of cocoons.03. 2011). Bihar. It went up to 4. Thomas.144 hectares during 2000-2001 (CSB. the state of Andhra Pradesh ranks next to Karnataka. reeling of silk. technological innovation has made its cultivation possible on an intensive scale. and role of Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) in relation to sericulture. dimension of labor and household activities. Though almost all districts in the state have taken up sericulture.725 metric tonnes. Anantapur and Chittoor have shown enormous growth rates in sericulture development in Andhra Pradesh. 1992. and weaving are distinctly industrial in nature. sericulture in India has experienced many ups and downs. and the share of Indian silk production is 16. 1998). subtropical (Jammu. 2007. 2011. While cultivation of mulberry and rearing of silkworms are agricultural activities in character. The silk industry can be found in vastly diverse regions such as temperate (Kashmir). The reeling of cocoons is Downloaded from by guest on January 28. enjoys the unique distinction of producing all the four varieties of natural silk. 2008).245 metric tons (13%).000 ($333 million. concentrated mainly in the three southern states of Karnataka. Tamil Nadu. and reeling of silk-yarn. in this sense. North-Eastern Region). eri.212 hectares. and so on. Today. mulberry cultivation in the State was only in 1. contribute to the bulk of production. Vijayanthi.500. and Karnataka). The present article will mainly explore the role of women in sericulture. Madhya Pradesh. and sociological analysis of pollution and purity. There is tremendous scope for the expansion of its production in the country. CSB. The first section “Background” will briefly explain the background of the development of sericulture in India. The third section “Women in Sericulture” will present an overview of sericulture and the role of women in it. tasar. This article will further discuss the perception of women toward silkworm. Andhra Pradesh. it can be considered a home-based industry. In recent years. during the last 30 years. In 1956. Except for Hyderabad district. rearing of silkworms. West Bengal. Of these Anantapur and Chittoor stand first and second. sericulture has caught up in such a big way that in just 10 years time. muga. Muradian.2 SAGE Open and otherwise (Geetha & Indira.

processes that aimed at optimum utilization of resources have led to increased marginalization of people. in the long run. Thus. Charsley’s “Culture and Sericulture” (1982) dwells on the significance of livestock industry and sericulture in the development of communities. and their implementation. the Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute (CSRTI).” The spheres of activity are anthropological contributions to the macro-analysis of social processes. while other forms of development do not (Kasi. were also mostly by the economists. respectively. The existing literature clearly demonstrates a need for an anthropological study of sericulture in Andhra Pradesh. they are aware of the gap between general theory and broad interpretations. in particular. The essential element here is organization. Anthropologically speaking. able to make much more complicated decisions and perform more complex tasks. and empirical. 2009). 2016 . It is widely assumed that an improvement in development implies an improvement in the level of satisfaction or welfare of the members of that society. The terms are as follows: “growth. Anthropologists find themselves uncomfortable in the movement back and forth between micro-field studies and macro interpretations that are increasingly necessary. down to earth interpretations. Downloaded from by guest on January 28. especially children and women. Progress. A brief review of the studies undertaken so far on various aspects of sericulture in India can give us the nature of the studies and their intent. Excluding mori-culture (mulberry cultivation). The studies undertaken in Andhra Pradesh. on the other (Kasi. The development experience in our country reflects the extent to which economic growth per se does not lead to improvement in the socioeconomic conditions of the people. Bangalore. However. S. First and foremost. The CSB. the former is. The phenomenal growth of sericulture in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is not only a case study of silk industry of south India but also a very good example for considering the role of social anthropology in development. and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD). have conducted many workshops. has led many an institution and individuals to conduct research studies and surveys. In considering the anthropological approach to development.” “performance. Bangalore. The fact is that some forms of development under some circumstances improve performance. Mysore. will ensure a balance between economic development and improving the quality of life of the people at large. and the implications of empirical field studies for development theory and interpretations. it policies. The development of sericulture industry in India is a case in point. R. “Development” represents an increase in the capacities of a society to organize for achieving its objectives and carry out its programs more effectively. In the light of the above discussion. The article tries to explain the concept of “Development” in the light of the discussion into the practice of Sericulture in India.” Kuppam is one of the regions that is growing quite fast and occupies a prominent place in the sericulture map of Chittoor. especially in the backward areas. when one society is developed and another underdeveloped. by comparison with the latter. These reports are very useful in formulating an idea of the growth potential of sericulture in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. and women and children.3 Kasi done in cottage establishments or in large factories. women in DWCRA. The present study is anthropological in nature with focused attention on the role of women in sericulture.” and “development. if viewed from an economic and development pathway appropriate to the conditions existing in a given sociocultural milieu. Chittoor stands second in the production of mulberry and silkworm rearing in the State. This book is a thorough study of a local community through an industry. a village in Kuppam Mandal of Chittoor district was chosen for the study. A review of available literature on sericulture in India would provide us an understanding of the role of sericulture in ameliorating the conditions of the rural poor. In order to fill this gap in the knowledge about sericulture. More than other social scientists. under rain-fed and irrigated conditions. in general.5 and 4. Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC). sociological analysis and links of pollution and purity. it would be fruitful to view sericulture as a development strategy and analyze whether the above perspectives hold good in this context. which is a cottage industry. and so on. to carry the concept for further discussion. The village Kotha Indlu has pioneered the adoption of new varieties of bivoltine seed and also new techniques and methods of mulberry cultivation. It is able to offer an anthropological interpretation of development and suggests ideas on the role of anthropology in development. These should largely reflect people’s aspirations and responses to both an immediate and long-term macro-economic perspective and the social implication of these policies on their lives. 2006). and more so in Andhra Pradesh. as sericulture is positively impacting the lives of many a poor. Sericulture is said to provide an excellent opportunity for socioeconomic progress in the context of a developing country like India. on the one hand. at times. Hyderabad.5 person-years of employment per year per hectare of mulberry garden. here an attempt has been made to gain an anthropological understanding of the processes of development. Increasingly. division of labor. due to various reasons. sericulture is a highly labor-intensive industry. anthropological interpretations of comparative development have been sought when economic ones prove insufficient. seminars. A critical area of concern in this regard should be to rethink our development policies and agendas. silkworm rearing itself generates 1. most importantly women and children residing in the backward areas of the state. concept of work. its structure. It has the distinction of introducing new breeds of bivoltine like “Swarnandhra” and “Jica. three terms and two spheres of scholarly activity must be distinguished. especially in Rayalaseema districts. called filatures. and surveys on sericulture development and published reports.

Several varieties of grass. And. Except Scheduled Castes sericulturists. Bangalore. sheep. 2011. administrators. Poultry is widely prevalent in the village and only the Scheduled Caste members practice piggery. In fact. respectively (Gate. are competing with the Balijas economically and educationally. Commercial crops like flowers and groundnuts are also grown in the village. The residents of Kotha Indlu village attach a lot of importance to rituals. the word personnel mainly refers to women laborers who are the full-time workers and who look after silkworm rearing and management and whose contribution is more than that of men in this area. sericulture has been found to be very helpful in meeting the development objectives of the Government. Cattle. the labour contribution of women is significant. it is of particular significance in anti-poverty programmes. University of Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh. the remaining sericulture farmers of the village use tillers. Quantitative information with regard to the technological development. but includes several activities. 37-38) Downloaded from by guest on January 28. Thamizoli. On the basis of land holdings. In much of these activities. rearing of silkworms to reeling of silk yarn from cocoons. Vanniar. demographic aspects. The numbers of large and marginal farmers are quite few. the mandal headquarters. and in India. 2016 . (pp. are used as fodder. Vanniar. the number of small farmers forms the majority. small. and irrigation systems were collected by using household schedules and the District Statistical handbook. the Scheduled Castes are numerically more than Vanniars and Chakalis. Sericulture is not one occupation. and the Scheduled Castes occupy the subsequent positions in that order. and the landless. about 15 kilometres from Kuppam. and washermen castes. Rituals are associated with all their activities. 2002). Vanniars. Next to the Balijas. Bhatta & Rao. The village is very well connected by road and has good transport facilities. 2002). economically. cropping patterns. and large farmers. case studies. Village Profile Women in Sericulture Kotha Indlu is situated in the Kotha Indlu Panchayat of Kuppam Mandal in Chittoor district. The village has telephone as well as postal facility. educationally. It has been rightly observed by Inbanathan and Vijayalakshmi (1997) that economic development has been one of the main objectives of many governments of countries around the world. the residents of Kotha Indlu are classified into marginal. Panda. They are dominant politically. 2003. and CSRTI. 2007. and provides employment and income to many people. 2006. buffaloes. Kasi. In this context. while all the castes raise groundnut crop on their lands. predominantly inhabited by persons belonging to the Balija. Though sericulture occupies the second position after agriculture. which takes care of their problems both in the society and outside. from planting and growing mulberry plants. and bullock carts to transport their produce to the towns. While the Balija occupy the highest position in the local caste hierarchy. who are a backward caste. Scheduled Castes. medium. informal interviews using detailed checklists. which constitute the staple diet of all communities. and a high school. The total population of the village is 274 formed by 50 families. key informant interviews. both in rural and urban areas. N. Indira Gandhi Memorial Library. though they are weak numerically and politically. improving the socio-economic condition of women has also been an important aim in their development programmes. whereas the number of landless is almost insignificant. Hyderabad. tractors. land holding. 2007. and personnel associated with the industry. it is the major source of income for the farmers in the village. Secondary data and information were collected from the annual reports of the Department of Sericulture. The president of the Gram Panchayat is from the Scheduled Caste community. and observation from all respondents in the village. this (Panchayat) seat was reserved for the Scheduled Castes in the last elections held for the local bodies on rotatory basis. 2001. 2007. Sericulture is an extremely labor intensive industry and occupies a pivotal position from the point of providing employment and additional income to weaker sections (Best & Maier. Mysore. maize stalk. Srinath. groundnut. The primary data were collected through a structured household schedule. 2011. Here. Vijayalakshmi. and donkeys are the major livestock in the area. V. an upper primary school.4 SAGE Open Method This article is based on the data collected from Kotha Indlu village of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. The crops cultivated are Paddy and Ragi. There is a farmers’ club in the village. The next bigger group is the medium farmers. and bhoosa. the transformation of sericulture industry from subsistence type of operation to a modern scientific system requires the attention of all major players like policy makers. goat. Floriculture is especially found among the Balija farmers. Vijayanthi. This is because it is labour intensive. NIRD. As such. This study is a qualitative micro-level study of sericulture being practised in that village. The Balijas are the dominant caste in this village. Hyderabad. and also numerically. Bangalore. It also has a ration shop under the public distribution system to supply essential commodities to the people who fall under the below poverty line (BPL) at concessional rates. Singh. In Kotha Indlu. Goyal. It is a multi-caste village. 2001. the studies and reports brought out by the CSB. Chakali. 2008. ISEC. Geetha & Indira. Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS). along with stocked paddy straw. It has been reported that women contribute about 50% and 60% of labor to mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing. In this context.

According to a legend. 1997). & Deepika. 1997. cottage basin. From the household. it is again women who are employed for picking the ripe worms and putting them on the chandrikas (bamboo mountages on which silkworms are placed when they are just about to spin their cocoons).5 Kasi From time immemorial. Gate. 2005. all home-based jobs done by women. The ultimate success of the post-reeling operations depends much on good winding. Thamizoli. It has been argued that women’s involvement with child rearing and domestic work was responsible for their exclusion from the public sphere. including silkworm rearing. Shah. (2009). 2004. 38-39) It has been amply demonstrated that though women participated in both spheres of work context. Cultural factors have complicated the proper evaluation of the quantum and quality of women’s contribution. When the silkworm matures and time is ripe for spinning the cocoons. Good harvests depend on good Chawki rearing. They are employed in a mulberry garden or silkworm rearing or in a grainage or in weaving or in a garment-making factory. As mentioned earlier. P. It is really a touching sight to see women sitting near the boiling water all day long. Datta & Sinha. Downloaded from by guest on January 28. the silk industry would not have been what it is today. 2009. women have been involved in different sectors of the silk industry. Even in cases where they do both jobs. Women are mostly favored because of their industrious nature. Division of Labor The epistemological debates on the issues of division of labor in Indian society have been critically examined by the scholars of sociology and social anthropology (Amer. China. sericulture offers a vast scope to augment the family income. 2001. Illo. sericulture is practiced as an agro-husbandry-based subsidiary occupation. Ramdas. their work has not always been properly recognized or suitably rewarded. Otherwise there will be too many knots which hinder good weaving. Damodaran. the conception of work has also varied from time to time. Work and Division of Labor Bose et al. 2002. they viewed that the persistent gender division of labor in rural Bangladesh has been found to be associated with both economic and sociocultural factors. they are still confined to “home-based” jobs than “outside home” jobs or tasks. and the division of labor. 2003. yarn without breaks. the involvement of women is greater. and their patience to work in hot water and seam for long hours. The leaf plucking is a skilled and delicate operation. 2007. “Work is regarded in many ways in different societies. (p. Coming to the post cocoon technology. so as not to hurt the delicate worms. However. 2007. The transition from simple hunting and gathering communities to agrarian technology entailed a major shift in gender relations. But for her foresight and imagination. weaving. Rao. they are to be performed under the guidance or supervision of men. 2007. D. As mentioned earlier. which is a highly delicate operation that needs to be performed with a great deal of care and patience. 2001. women are employed in sericulture operations. Singh. in their sociological study. Padhi. are relegated to a lower status and are virtually considered insignificant and unskilled. 2007. 2016 . though men do chopping of leaves. The workers must have full knowledge about which leaves to be plucked to suit different ages of silkworms. sociology of work has attempted to explain the work of women by relating it to two realms prevalent in society. or automatic or semiautomatic reeling. Feeding is an art very aptly done by the fair sex. There should be continuity in the yarn. N. 2001. that is. stained. Women are actively engaged in the mulberry fields for the removal of weeds and in leaf plucking. to some extent. reeling the crude charkha silk. 2010. about 51% of women are assisting men in this lucrative industry to produce the “queen of textiles” (Kannan. be it on a handloom or a power loom. and. Goyal. double. Rural economic activities within the household were found to have a weak impact on women’s empowerment. Furthermore. Rustagi. Channa. Mandal. the discovery of the silkworm and cocoon was by a beautiful Chinese princess. In India. segregation of women and men in specific occupations. 2002. Earlier. The sociology of gender and. 1994. In the rearing house. Everingham. and garment manufacturing industry. This also has a bearing on their decision-making power vis-à-vis men (Dankleman & Davidson. which would be unsuitable for the production of high-grade raw silk. commencing from silk reeling. The industry is well established in the traditional countries like Japan. Women have become experts in Chawki rearing. 1988. perhaps. and Korea (Geetha & Indira. 1997. it is mostly women who sort out the flimsy. Inbanathan and Vijayalakshmi (1997) rightly stated. and so on. Inbanathan & Vijayalakshmi. Yakshi. M. 2001. have clearly depicted the patterns of women’s work and analyzed the factors that influence the gender division of labor. 1987). Women’s greater involvement in reeling industry is seen not only in India but also in all silk-producing countries. Their home-based jobs are not even considered as productive work and in the same vein. Women go to the fields in the morning for plucking the mulberry leaves and return to the rearing house before noon. Whether it is a charkha. Kelkar. Jose. Any over crowding will lead to an increase in the spinning of double cocoons. casting of the ends. 2000. 2001. Singh. it is not uncommon to find women folk assisting men in feeding the silkworms. Women assist in bed changing and they do this with utmost tenderness. When the cocoons are ready for harvesting. Arya. and deformed cocoons from the chandrikas. women are preferred due to the dexterity of their fingers in getting the fine filaments from the cocoons. This includes elements such as the structure of work in each society. steam filature. The progress has been equally rapid in the developed and underdeveloped countries. 2011).

Tables 1 and 2 above amply bring out this sort of discrimination against women.632 1. except for chawki rearing and harvesting of cocoons.593 13. there is one accountant. rearing children. S. she became a leader and now she is cluster associate to 15 DWCRA groups. looking after the needs of their husbands and other members of the family. or plucking leaves. who convene and coordinate the meetings. Without Udaylakshmi. Activities Washing/cleaning utensils. where a number of DWCRA groups and Thrift groups are located in Tirupati and Chittoor regions.326 2. has three children and all of them are school going (Convent and Montessori) in Kuppam. Work by women in agricultural field. 2004). Central Silk Board (2010-2011). All the household chores. cutting. “Bhagylakshmi. which are “skilled” jobs and hence are done mostly by men. is a male domain and if women are involved in these tasks. trays. Apale. When the workload is more and when more hands are required. Thus. In the study village. which are usually branded as “feminine” tasks.314 14. and nets. A division of labor is also seen in the activities pertaining to maintenance of mulberry gardens. & Dupéré. Hiring of labor is not a practice commonly found in Kotha Indlu. 2006. The division of labor in Kotha Indlu shows (Table 5) a typical gender divide in various activities that the women and girls perform. clothes Taking care of children Supervision of children Collecting drinking water Bringing firewood Bringing grass Rearing cows/goats Milking the cows Washing the cattle Men Women Othersa — — — — 18 23 34 14 21 98 84 67 54 63 67 64 86 71 2 16 33 46 19 10 2 — 8 a Mostly women. Out of these DWCRA groups.” be it in raising and maintenance of mulberry garden or silkworm rearing and marketing of cocoons. Her husband studied up to fifth class. they work under the supervision of men. Maintenance and upkeep of mulberry garden is the male realm and any “skilled work.082 7. and wherever women are involved. No State  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 Total area Karnataka Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu West Bengal Jammu & Kashmir Assam Manipur Kerala Uttar Pradesh Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Mizoram Area (hectares) 70. they have to “consult” and work under the “guidance” of men.355 Source.557 7. ploughing. which is an NGO. However. Thus. Both men and women participate in farmyard manure (FYM) application and irrigation. Even in silkworm rearing.5% of women are involved in it. According to “DAN” estimates. Some people in Kotha Indlu believe that men are more skilled and knowledgeable in the application of fertilizers. Case Study Udaylakshmi.748 1. are generally not recognized as productive jobs. each group consisting of 10 to 15 members. For all the groups.” or “no skilled” jobs (Table 3). as compared to men and boys.677 2. men are mainly held responsible for activities like pruning. Bed cleaning and disinfecting the trays are considered “women’s jobs” and 92. called cluster associate. which are functioning in the Kotha Indlu Gram Panchayat.  Division of Household Activities (in %). and each group has its own name. weeding. they cannot conduct meetings. She is also an accountant to all these 9 groups. Women are more involved in renting of the chandrikas. These include a wide variety of tasks like domestic chores and agricultural and sericultural tasks like sowing.” she became a little more assertive. the sharing of tasks follows the same logic of “skilled” and “unskilled” jobs in mulberry cultivation. either hired or related to the family. whose husband practices floriculture. so is purchasing of disinfectants. She is a cluster associate in “DAN” Foundation.170 162. especially in Chittoor district. aged 28. because a majority of the households rent chandrikas from the DWCRA groups in Kotha Indlu or from the neighboring villages. whose headquarters is in Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Marketing of cocoons is considered a predominantly male activity. the help of their kinsmen and friends is taken. both men and women perform disinfecting of the rearing house (Table 4).6 SAGE Open Table 1. more arduous and back-breaking.958 40. These tasks are. there are 350 DWCRA groups in Kuppam Downloaded from by guest on January 28. which stresses on the traditional linkages.  Area Under Mulberry in Different States of India in 2010-2011.” “unskilled. After joining as a member in the DWCRA group.074 6. as a matter of fact. who looks after the monetary transactions and accounts. Abdool. Xaxa. as well as looking after sericultural tasks.298 1. and so on. In every group. Men do not engage themselves in “less skilled. and women for weeding. are all tasks perceived to be performed by women alone. “DAN” society has been conducting training classes to women in Andhra Pradesh. Vissandjée. 2016 . and fertilizer application. there is a first leader and second leader. Still there is the prevalence of exchange labor. Table 2. there are 7 DWCRA groups. Slowly. 9 are in Kotha Indlu. women in Kotha Indlu perform all the other tasks. whereas she studied up to ninth class.

They found that she has a tumor in her stomach and demanded Rs. 2007. and economic circumstances. and is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future as well.  Division of Labor in Establishing Mulberry Gardens (in %). She said that earlier she had lot of caste bias. marketing is considered a male preserve. 2016 . the project director wrote a letter to the Government General Hospital for checking and scanning. vaccination programs. patient. Activities of DWCRA in Relation to Sericulture DWCRA program was launched in 1982. But after joining the group she became more cool headed. However. Hired Family Male Female 6 8 8 — — — — — — — — — — — 14 — Note. it was always with the help of a male member of the household since it is considered a “male activity” and a relatively difficult task to perform.  Division of Labor in Mulberry Garden Maintenance (in %). and according to the class/caste. FYM = farmyard manure. S. She is now very much interested in educating woman. DWCRA arranges meetings with sericulture Brushing Harvesting leaves Chopping the leaves Feeding Bed cleaning Molt setting Mounting Disinfecting Male Female 74 11 17 12 7 53 39 8 26 89 83 88 93 47 61 92 officials to learn about new methods of technology/crop/seeds.S. 10 days in Tirupati and 3 days in Kuppam. 2006. P. Jakimow & Kilby. 2005). The dominant culture of the village does not encourage women to undertake activities where they have to travel away from home. as Downloaded from by guest on January 28. Arya. Shramadanam. Best & Maier. It conducts awareness programs in areas such as cleanliness of the rearing house and trays and chandrikas and acts as a mediator between sericulturists and Department of Sericulture. No.  Division of Labor in Silkworm Rearing (in %). which involves staying back at home. They are conducting women awareness camps.000 for the operation. interacting with strangers. She gave one example of a problem.. she was very short-tempered and was getting very angry even over minor issues. 2007. Singh. 2003. and their families would necessarily have to accept these. D. whenever women have to travel relatively long distances away from the village.S. According to Udaylakshmi. Her husband. and her self-confidence improved. which was sorted out through her intervention in the village. Table 5. Activities 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pruning Ploughing FYM application Fertilizer application Weeding Irrigation Male 91 94 46 79 — 54 Hired Female Male Female — — 54 21 84 32 9 6 — — — 14 — — — — 16 — Note. before joining the group. women may need to take up marketing and also wage labor. 10. women are usually more active in sericulture. they are more often confined to “less skilled” occupations. 2007. This amply demonstrates the emergence of some leadership among women. Janmabhoomi. In the study village. and money transactions. In the households which are engaged in both agriculture and sericulture. participation in which is voluntary. Because of her pressure. They are also participating in the Akshara Tapashman programs. Family S. this principle was not always strictly followed. Now she does not think about caste distinction. FYM = farmyard manure. It coordinates the members’ training programs. Its aim was to empower rural women living BPL by helping them to create sustainable income-generating activities through self-employment. Marketing under these circumstances. that is. Activities mandal alone. but is more concerned about one’s effective participation in DWCRA. is usually with male escorts. Raju. This is mainly because it involved going out of the village. It provides loan to members to buy silkworm seed (Matti). V. It advises the members on issues related to their personal health. as part of the Integrated Rural Development program (IRDP). There was a problem of stomach ache to one woman. Now the woman is in good health. In this situation. Because of Udaylakshmi’s pressure. some kind of bias against lower caste women/men. Government gave money for the operation. and bold. Activities 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Ploughing Leveling Harrowing Irrigation FYM application Fertilizer application Weeding Planting Male Female 94 92 92 64 49 72 — 46 — — — 36 51 28 86 54 Table 4.7 Kasi Table 3. DWCRA provides chandrikas to the rearers on rent and it also constructs shed to keep chandrikas and trays. and other awareness increasing programmes. 2005. However. did not take care of his wife. a drunkard.No. Panda. Whenever women were associated in marketing. It was the first program of its kind that specifically focused on improving the quality of life of rural women (Acharya.

but somebody will be there to see all the works in the house. He is studying in the 10th class. Regarding health. they do not allow the polluted person into the rearing house. Sharma.1. He says that because of sericulture. Tharamangalam. is studying in the 10th class and is the eldest son of the family. 2005). 1991. 2006. 1980. sericulture in Kotha Indlu also has divisions based on gender. very sincerely.8 SAGE Open perceived by the sericulturists. 1999. 1984. 1966. they feel that they do not take that much care of their own children. it has almost uniformly been found that land is a resource that is generally not within the reach of women. and extension (government provided support of technical services and sericulture materials).” he should be a bit careful about his future too. land has emerged as the most visible and tangible collateral for loans. The officials. in most areas where sericulture is practiced. Sometimes. Sahay. 2006. 2007. 1997. 1967. and Africa (Gray. he has spent around Rs. 2004. 2010. menstrual cycles of women etc. Very rarely he may get cold and fever. 2001. They look after the worms in the chandrikas. 2016 . land is held in the name of male member of the family. women play a significant role in sericulture activity of Kotha Indlu. they perform a day-long puja to Lord Ganesh and distribute sweets when they get a good yield. Cort. 1999. While feeding worms. 000 for books and other materials. For them. Most of the teachers know that he is performing both tasks reasonably well. Khandelwal. aged 15. He can do all work relating to sericulture. Case Study Tulasibabu. Oceania. Women consider bed cleaning and litter cleaning as a natural thing that they do in case of children. He did not feel sorry for pursuing sericulture along with his education. Nigosian. because this crop was a bivoltine (Swarnandhra). If he gets the chance to study. he does not have any complaints. These are taking place in parts of Asia. Krishna. he is very busy with politics and other meetings of the Telugu Desam Party and is also the president of Education (Vidya) volunteers committee and electricity committee. Women and Silkworm Rearing The sociological debate on the issues of pollution and purity has engaged the attention of the academia for quite a long time (Arun. This has directly affected the credit opportunities for women. women take utmost care. He said that though he is still a “child. Ciotti. Hospital. the silkworms would eat more leaves. 2002. There are a couple of exceptions to this general rule. 1999. 1989). 1993. Shah. Jayaram. After joining the 10th class. 2010. Thaiss. girls’ participation in sericulture activity is higher than that of boys. Philips. The elderly persons play an important role in sericulturist households. 2007. which is not because of sericulture. He had learnt about sericulture from his father and other persons in the village through observation and experience. They also apply “samrani” in the belief that after offering samrani. These debates are not restricted to India alone. Agriculture is still the major activity for people of the village. but women perform the majority of sericultural work. 1975. Ishwaran. They have modern gadgets like T. Sericulture farmers in the village are practicing pollution and purity in relation to death of a family member. Mencher. 1980. Galanter.V. Parry. Keshodkar. 2004. During pollution period. In most of the sericulture households in Kotha Indlu. 1978. Only in very rare cases could one find that women have land in their names. He is very intelligent and hard working. Iversen & Raghavendra. credit. While agriculture has a relatively clear-cut division of labor. In some spheres. 2000. Women in Kotha Indlu village feel that worms are very sensitive in nature. Lamb. women have relatively poorer access to productive resources such as land. Thapan. Pandian. Though his father is there. 1966. 2004. Hollup. This is evident in case of Tulasibabu. they apply bleaching powder to the surroundings to control the other smells and to maintain the purity. During the Chawki period. tending the worms is like looking after children. There is no complaint about any disease with this crop. To sum up. Pinney. Pollution and Purity Downloaded from by guest on January 28. at the same time. 2004. Hayashida. came to the village and gave him guidance on sericulture. Generally. Officials gave them small training like in the beginning. 1978. Saavala. 2009. when banks consider them as less than credit worthy since they do not fulfill collateral requirements for taking loans. puberty period of a girl child. he will go for college and enjoy college life. he can concentrate on sericulture as well. Children too have an important role in sericultural operations. Here girls are mostly involved in all of these activities. He has a great desire to go for higher studies and after that he wants to become “Chief Minister” of Andhra Pradesh. George. In rural areas. their role may be limited. and tape recorder. according to the Convenor of the Farmers’ Club. Karanth. Heredia. While the quality of extension services may vary from place to place. They also offer potatoes and coconuts to officers after getting a good yield. where labor requirement is more and. Srinivas. 2006. Everyday. He is the third man to grow Swarnandhra (it is a new variety of bivoltine silkworm) in this village. they look after their grandchildren. Purity is considered very much important to get a good yield. Their role can be seen from third molt stage onwards. his family’s lifestyle and living conditions have improved a lot. In most cases. right from assistant director to lower staff. His teachers and friends have been encouraging him to do both the tasks. and it requires utmost patience. Even though he is in the 10th standard.

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