This is a cross sectional study on gender differences in work distribution, means of production, decision making, illness and hazard exposure among male and female vegetable farmers. Personal interviews were conducted among 39 vegetable growers in Benguet. Bivariate analysis showed that the husband’s control over income is associated with decision making power in regard household expenditures, except food (p=.050). The illness data showed that the most common illness among the wives involves the respiratory tract, such as cough (7.7%) and asthma (5.1%). Among the husbands, the most common was back pain (10.3%) followed by hypertension, blurred vision and cough (7.7% each). For the adult female, results show that chemical hazards are positively associated with the following farm operations: ploughing (P=0.008), sowing (P=0.001), weeding (P=0.000), manuring (P= 0.000), plant protection (P=0.026), harvesting (P=0.000) and threshing (P=0.042). Association is strongest with chemical hazard and manuring at 0.370 (P=0.000) followed by harvesting at0.358 (0.000). This shows that women mainly perform manuring and pesticide application, and consequently exposed to chemical hazards. The nature of hazard exposure is related to the task being performed. The results of the study are similar to experiences of developing countries, however, the novelty of this study is its being the first study for such subject population using a quantitative analysis, as well as the inclusion of occupational health- gender issues in the agricultural sector.

Note on the Author

Jinky Leilanie Lu, National institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila