Women’s role in rice farming extolled

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    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ – The big role of women in rice farming, on top of their main responsibility of keeping the home, is extolled in a section of an exhibit on “bountiful harvest” put up by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Phil- Rice) here.

    “Based on results of surveys, women indeed play a big role in agriculture, particularly in rice farming which is not often cited,” Diadem Gonzales-Esmero, Phil- Rice rice museum said. “Through this exhibit, we hope the public will appreciate more this unheralded big women’s role (in rice farming),” she added.

    The exhibit was opened last Monday and will stay on for three months, which covers the celebration of March as “Women’s Month.”

    Seven panels, quoting statistics based on a survey conducted by the Philippine Center for Rural Development Studies (Centro Saka, Inc.), showcased the women’s participation in different aspects of rice production in assistance to their respective farmer-husbands.

    “Labor, a sacrifice inherited since the evolvement of humans, is engraved in her being. She unmindfully endures as she loves the aroma of the grain in the milking stage and the sweet whiff of air in the early morning. In planting, women outnumber the men, and months after, they lend helping hands in harvesting and drying the produce, logging 2.33 more days in harvesting and 2.75 more days in drying rice than the period men spend for them,” one of the panel’s caption said.

    In another vein, in rice planting women outnumber the men-planters. Overall, on top of keeping the homes and ensuring that the bodies of the family members are nourished and the children are properly reared, the women in rice farming spend as long as 11 hours a day during planting and harvesting seasons.

    In the matter of securing capital for farm operation, it is the wife who leads by approaching mostly relatives but it is the husband who has the big say in spending it. The wife plays also a big role in food foraging, wood gathering, gardening, raising poultry and livestock, and even enduring paglalabada (doing laundry) for additional income.

    “The husband depends on the wife on her sound decision on household matters, medication in times of illness, what food to prepare, appliances to buy, where to get money in times of emergencies, and even on whom to vote during elections,” one of the panels said.

    Other sections in the museum’s display the material cultures used in rice farming which were lent by the agricultural museum of the Central Luzon State University and rice technologies for achieving bountiful harvests.

    “Our exhibit is meant to spread the history, culture, arts and sciences behind the Filipino staple. It has been mounted with assistance from the PhilRice Foundation, Inc.,” Esmero said.

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