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1415 - Gender Issues in Weeder Design

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Presentation at the Workshop on Crop Production Equipment for the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
Presenter: Sabarmatee: Sambhav and Wageningen University
Title: Gender Issues in Weeder Design
Date: November 1, 2014
Venue: ACISAI, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand

Published in: Technology
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1415 - Gender Issues in Weeder Design

  1. 1. Gender Issues in Weeder Design Sabarmatee Sambhav, Nayagarh, Odisha, India / Wageningen University, Netherlands sabarmatee@gmail.com
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. Need Action? Need frequent weeding + Soil aeration (Weed and soil management contributing to better plant growth and hence to yield) Conventional way of manual weeding at frequent interval is a challenge One of the options: Mechanical weeding + Manual
  4. 4. Major concern Techno-economic centered designs rarely focus upon : social issues (including gender) and health concerns
  5. 5. Natural/ Technological challenge - Weeds grow faster and hence need frequent weeding for saving rice plants from competition for food, water and space - Need to have water during weeding - Few plants to transplant and more to remove (number of weeds are more than the number of rice plants) - Climate change – consequences on weed growth – pressure on weed management due to changing weed ecology and water regime – pressure mainly on women
  6. 6. Social challenge Who (man / woman/ both) does the work (weeding), why not other
  7. 7. Diverse labour utilisation patterns in weeding Manual Mechanical No weeding Men Women Men Women Men Women 1 Before Yes After SRI Yes Yes Yes 2 Before Yes After SRI yes Yes 3 Before Yes After SRI Yes Yes 4 Before After SRI * Yes Yes Yes 5 Before Yes After SRI Yes Yes
  8. 8. Social aspect of tasks Gender asymmetry in wage exists Wage is determined by society Task is gendered High use of (women) family labour continues in smallholder systems
  9. 9. Individual challenge Is the body of the man or women , old and young same? = biologically / socially
  10. 10. Weeding by using weeder is fun for them Generally no man / woman above 50 participates in mechanical weeding
  11. 11. Do artifacts have gender? Weeder – Meant for whom? Made by whom? Owned, Used by whom?11
  12. 12. For centuries, not many changes took place in the tools women use in rice farming in the fields. It is mostly limited to hand hoes, sickles and hatchets. Introduction of weeder in SRI brought a major transformation in - nature of work, posture (from bending to standing)
  13. 13. Gender of labourers – determinants • Environmental dynamics (weed growth and type, water regime, soil type) • Household dynamics , social dynamics (negotiation among household members, customary gender role in weeding, household gender roles, institutional membership, livelihood strategies) • Extension dynamics (provisioning of tool - availability, adequacy, accessibility, ownership , management, clientele of training) • Engineering dynamics (design , ergonomics of weeders) 14
  14. 14. Phase 1 Weeders were given to use Phase 2 Use Understood Acceptance / rejection / modification of models - feedback on models – promoters looking for new models - facing challenges Phase 3????? Are women involved? Do designers take feedback of women at any stage? If yes, great.
  15. 15. Understanding bodily experiences - Parameters - Gender roles – off farm, on-farm - Food intake, disease, child bearing and caring - Embodiment of postures - cultural ……………………………………………………………………………………… - Manual handling of materials - Posture - Work environment - Distance covered per unit of time / speed - Area of work - Total hours of work - Gender-wise work participation - Type of tools and equipments 16
  16. 16. • Manual handling of materials differ and is less – handling weeder, not grasses in mechanical weeding, no change in manual weeding • Work time per unit of land is less, speed is more (16-25 hrs / ac), (30-50 mtrs x 18-20 cms/ minute) - in SRI at one time (Up to 150 hrs / ac), (1 sq mtr max / minute)- in conv. • Work environment is better and time remaining in that environment is less • Some men participate in weeding • Posture changes with use of weeder (model -specific) BUT Recommendations could not be followed by all farmers due to various reasons Hence gender-wise bodily (physical) experiences vary 17
  17. 17. Real postures –photograph analysis
  18. 18. Video analysis
  19. 19. Ergonomic assessment (individual focus and short-term assessment )
  20. 20. Energy expenditure 22 Variables Manual weeding Mechanical weeding Sample size , gender 15 , Women Method of sample selection Random Period of test August 2013 Range of age 18-40 Range of weight 38-72 Range of height 4.8 -5.5 Type of tool Mandva weeder Type of measuring instrument used Oxymeter No. of reading taken 4 Range of SpO2 93 - 99 92-100 Average SpO2 96 96 Range of PRbpm 75-160 76-184 Average PRbpm 117.5 130 However, Work –rest rhythms, postures, work environment, span of work time differ which have synergetic impact on body than short period energy use expressed in SpO2 and PRbpm .
  21. 21. Weeder Models (Below - Left- Cono – 1st weeder - totally rejected , Right – Mandva variant used by men and women) 23
  22. 22. Women’s physical situation during weeding period • Women – fatigued after weeks of transplanting in wet environment in bending posture for long hours beside non-negotiable reproductive role • Cash constrained – limited investment capacity – less women work for long hours • Seasonal malnourishment , disease
  23. 23. Rapid Comparative Pain Assessment (RaCoPA ) A participatory, comparative, self-reported, diagnostic visual tool to assess pain / drudgery experienced by labourers
  24. 24. In RaCoPA • Focus Group Discussion method is used; • Body map is used to point locations of pain experienced as specific activities are performed to make comparative assessment of pain; • All existing rice cultivation technologies / practices of the selected village are taken into account; • Opinion of all the participants – technology users count.
  25. 25. Process of RaCoPA: Some Glimpses
  26. 26. Postures Enacted
  27. 27. Pointing Pain
  28. 28. Points of Pain
  29. 29. Activities that cause pain
  30. 30. What Specific Activities Men and Women (also children) do to Produce Rice and Which Way of Growing Rice Cause How Much Pain in Which Part of Their Bodies
  31. 31. RaCoPA – Which task hurts where and how much (Gender-wise cross-technology pain assessment) 36
  32. 32. Name of the village and Address : Date : Focal Group: Physical Pain Experienced by Women Rice-field-workers of ………Village Activities Conventional Transplanting Method SRI Direct Sowing Method e.g. Manual Weeding Hand, Palm, Back, Elbow, Waist, Thighs, Knees, Feet, Nails - More Hand, Palm, Back, Elbow, Waist, Thighs, Knees, Feet – Very less Hand, Palm, Back, Elbow, Waist, Thighs, Knees, Feet, Nails – More than Conv. Trnspl. Method
  33. 33. Gender-wise Cross-technology Pain Experience of Labourers Engaged in Weeding Gender, Method of cultivation Conventional SRI Men Manual No participation- no pain Normally No participation- No pain, Sometimes when participate, get pain in back, legs, knees Use of weeder Not used - no pain Back, Shoulders, Hand, Palm New – injury by weeders Women Manual Thighs, Knee, Feet, Back Shoulder , Area under bangles, Area between fingers of hands and legs, Abrasion in skin - Severe Back, Shoulder, Knee, Thighs, Feet, Abrasion in skin - Less (Weeder use reduced amount of work) Use of weeder Not used - no pain Chest, Shoulder, Hands, Legs, Back New – injury by weeders
  34. 34. Design and weight of weeders had different impacts on bodies and hence on SRI Cono weeder- heavier - more painful - discarded Mandva weeder – lighter – less painful - In use till now
  35. 35. Can designers develop a (gendered) participatory design process ? Need assessment + Social assessment + Material circumstances / natural circumstances analysis + Existing technology analysis Design Feedback Modify / innovate / invent
  36. 36. ONE SIZE FITS ALL DOES NOT WORK FOR ALL AND IN ALL SITUATIONS REMEMBER, WOMEN DO EXIST THEN YOU ARE GENDER-WISE

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