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Session Overview
RN14_02b_P: Gender, Agriculture and Food Production
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: E. Katharina Sarter, University of South Wales
Location: PB.2.44
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: B, Level: 2.

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Gendered Labor Regime, Wage Labor and Resistance: The Women of the Greenhouse

Zeynep Ceren Eren Benlisoy

Middle East Technical University, Turkey

This study focuses on women’s position in the rural labor markets and its radical change under the rural transformation process. As the small commodity producer households have great difficulty in maintaining their agricultural production and husbandry, the category of worker-peasant has become more visible in the rural areas. Yet the ways women experience such a drastic change seems to be different than men.

In this context, ‘the greenhouse work’ appears to be stereotyped in the Bakırçay Basin, Aegean Region, Turkey as ‘women’s work’, even though the large-scale greenhouse production based on export has a short history in the region. The workers are predominantly composed of rural women, who until recently used to be tobacco, cotton or olive producers in the plain and mountain villages of the basin.

According to the preliminary findings of the fieldwork conducted in one of the largest greenhouse, the labor regime has gendered characteristics. The gendered division of labor organizes the working day in which ‘greenhouse work’ is seen as an ‘extension of women work in agriculture’. The working conditions are precarious and the wages are low.

Given these, this study also looks for the possibilities for resistance practices in such a gendered labor regime. It tries to understand not only how they handle with the heavy work burden under the systematic mobbing of the greenhouse managers but also how they find alternatives and ‘use’ working in the greenhouse to liberate their private lives.


Bulent Gulcubuk, Gulce Olgun Susta

Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture Department of Agricultural Economics, Turkey

Global food companies are becoming more and more influential all over the world. It is getting nearly impossible to be able to resist these companies and to take place in the market. In overcoming this problem, cooperatives are important tools and objects for rural women in agriculture. Cooperatives on a volunteer basis, with the function of solidarity, cooperation and collective social service have an important role in economic, social and democratic development of individuals and society. Less than 4 % of all entrepreneurs in Turkey are women and it is not possible even to give any ratio in rural areas in this regard. So, strengthening of the woman cooperative system in any field, increasing the presence of women in cooperatives and their effects in decision-making processes will be a milestone to meet economic, social and cultural needs of women and to make them be able to resist global markets. Women’s cooperatives in rural areas will have a positive impact on making economic, social and cultural opportunities especially for women, who work informally, who can’ participate in working life in rural areas freely and who can’t participate in social relationship system. Cooperatives may play a key role in solving women's problems due to gender inequalities in economic power sharing, obstacles that women meet with related to participating in workforce. In this paper firstly, data about the role of women in agriculture will be presented then, how cooperatives can play a role in women's participation in social and economic life, how cooperatives can function in resisting the global food companies will be discussed. Besides, the issue about women’s cooperatives in rural areas of Turkey will be reviewed.

Handover of Jobs in a Local Agricultural Labor Market



This paper is based on a case study documenting the patterns of wage-labor processes of agricultural workers among the inhabitants of Adapazarı, an industrialized city in northwestern Turkey. Agriculture in the hinterland of the city is based on small-sized commercialized farms, which have long been regarded as the typical Turkish case. A significant part of agricultural tasks, such as hoeing, picking, and packaging, have been associated with women's labor and established as women’s work in the region. Agricultural jobs around the city have historically been one of the important employment options for urban women although the number of available agricultural jobs has shrunk lately due to industrialization process, enlargement of residential areas in 1990s and mechanization of some agricultural tasks. The case study is conducted in the harvest seasons of the years 2011, 2012, and 2015 through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with workers and employers. The fieldwork provides hints indicating a handover of agricultural jobs from women living in central neighborhoods to peripheral settlements where mainly new migrants and minorities (Kurd, Roma) are settled. The research indicates that the recently increased employment opportunities within the city (in service sector and industries) have been utilized unevenly among the inhabitants of the city, regarding the ongoing vitality of precarious agricultural jobs for women living in the settlements which are associated with minority identities. Therefore, this analysis of the hitherto undocumented peoples’ struggle for income signals the structural inequalities of the wider society confining women, particularly minority women to precarious agricultural jobs, without legally defined responsibility of employers, secure contracts, fringe benefits, retirement rights, safety precautions for worklk and transportation.

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