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Abstract

This study on women in the Philippines, particularly in Benguet which is the largest vegetable producer in the country, was undertaken in order to provide a wider interpretation of the contribution of women farmers to agricultural productivity, as well as to look into the relations between feminization of agriculture, and women’s occupational health. Methods employed in this study included personal interviews to look into the knowledge, involvement, and contribution of women in agricultural farming as well as a survey to look into women’s perceived occupational health issues and healthcare provision by the local government. The study showed that women play a key role in farming activities including seeding, weeding, pesticide application, harvesting, and marketing of crops. Women are regarded by men in Benguet as integral partners in farming, and they hold and control agriculture-derived incomes. The study showed that ill health of women farmers is affected by the trends and processes of feminization in the agricultural sector. Health policies and programs therefore cannot be separated from considering how economic production affects women’s health. Health should be understood within the context of economic production and relations of production.

Note on the Author

Jinky Leilanie Lu, Research Professor 7, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila (UPM)

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