04.09.2018

Women farmers report permanent disparaging of their production initiatives by their partners: "this is not going to work", "it’s a waste of time". Permanent control of women by families and communities is expressed in moral judgement of those who are absent from home to study, participate in a movement or have contact with men in marketing negotiations. Sexual division of labour is very present in agriculture, and it seems quite difficult for a woman without a partner to live from agricultural activity. Thus, single women undergo a series of open or subtle boycotts, and this experience serves as an example to the other women in the community. Fear of not having a partner and going through deprivation is still very strong. As for ecological agriculture, women farmers report a number of instances of “patrimonial” violence: husbands who apply herbicide to their agroecological crops, who cut flowers, who make it impossible for them to raise chickens. Domestic violence by a near male relative is the most common. However, increased reporting of sexual violence and femicides practised by strangers is to be noted. In this context, an important aspect is sexist violence used to intimidate social-movement leaders who are fighting for the integrity of their territories.

Can you tell us a little bit about SOF’s work?
SOF has been systematically involved with rural women since 1996, when it organised a debate and exchange between activists of rural women's movements and the trade union movement in different regions of the country in order to relate the "gender" and "family farming" categories. Action over the years has been moving forward, beyond these descriptive categories of reality to principles that affirm the transformation of current relations: feminism, agroecology and food sovereignty. This transformation was translated into education and mobilisation activities and proposals for public policies.