Double Troubles or Not Factors Affecting the Role Performance of Rural Woman in Dry Zone Agriculture

K. R. N. S. Rajamanthrie, M. R. Pinnawala


Sri Lankan agriculture is a culture itself. Rural woman plays a key role in it.Rise in women‟s participation in agriculture was evident by 34% in 1996 and by 41% in2006 (Census and Statistics, 2007), revealing a rising trend of women‟s involvement inagriculture. Human Development in South Asia (2002) stated that South Asian womankeeps the rural life alive and she suffers a lot for it. Similarly in Sri Lanka too ruralwoman struggles with domestic, livelihood related and social drudgeries every-day.

This paper examined factors affecting the role performance in domestic,economic and social spheres of rural woman in dry zone agriculture. The study area wasAnuradhpura district which has the highest female labor force participation (40.7%)(Census and Statistics, 2007). The study sample was 150 rural women involved inagriculture from six rural villages in Anuradhpura. Primary data sources were householdsurvey, case studies, in-depth interviews, key informants‟ discussions, time use diariesand participatory observations. Secondary data were obtained from literature andreports. Descriptive statistics and narratives were used in the interpretation of results.Factors affecting multiple roles were studied under five categories, namely: sociocultural,economic, personal, occupational and environmental. It was found thatrespondents‟ domestic, economic and social roles were affected by socio-culturalfactors by 68%, 93% and 42% respectively whereas by personal factors by 57%, 73%,and 41% respectively. Further, her economic role was affected by economic andoccupational factors by 62% and 71% respectively, while domestic role byenvironmental and occupational factors by 47% and 43% respectively. Socio-culturalfactors affected her roles most, in which gender stereotyping was critical. Except for agematurity, work experience, kinship and education other factors affected her rolesadversely.

Key words: Rural woman, Factors affecting, Dry zone, Agriculture

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