Women at Agriculture: An Eco-feministic Perspective
The word “Eco-feminism” was coined by French Feminist Francoise. She described the violence on women and nature as result of male domination. An eco-feminist perceives male domination as the root cause of all social problems. Charlene Spretnak states in her article “Critical and Constructive Contributions of Eco-feminism” that eco-feminism brings attention to the linked domination of women and nature in order that both aspects can be adequately understood. (Spretnak, Charlene. “Critical and constructive Contributions of Ecofeminism.” worldviews and Ecology< http://media.pfeiffer.edu/lridener/courses/ECOFEM.HTML>). In other words, an eco-feministic critical approach attempts to women’s creative attachment towards nature while observing men’s activities naturally as the cause of destruction.
A small scale focus group was conducted among seven women of Vandole, Dhulikhel. The aim was to examine how their daily works manifest their attachment towards nature and growth (creation).
Devaki Shrestha of Vandole, is a 46 year old house wife whose household work, from early in the morning to the bed-time at night, includes brooming her home premise, preparing tea and meal for her whole family (most of whom only wake up one hour late than Devaki), fetching water from the nearby Dhungedhara (traditional water-tape made of stone), spraying water in the flower vase and following the ritual commands as carried by their culture. According to Spretnak, “the feminine” is associated with emotion, body, nature, connectedness, receptivity and the private sphere. A close look at Devaki’s lifestyle shows that her involvement in the household activities like preparing food and fetching water from the nearby Dhungedhara directly contributes in the nurture of her family. Her inherent mindset for nature conservation is manifested through her involvement in gardening.
In a question asked about her husband, she reveals her husband’s daily routine which is quite different from her. The morning starts with screeching sound as well as fuming smoke of starting bike. This act surely doesn’t sound environment friendly. Besides that, she complains about her husband throwing tantrum at people, in phone calls or around him, if something goes against his expectation. This fact strengthens the explanation given by the principle of eco-feminism that male activities naturally result in destructive output. (Spretnak, Charlene. “Critical and constructive Contributions of Ecofeminism.” worldviews and Ecology< http://media.pfeiffer.edu/lridener/courses/ECOFEM.HTML>). In other words, Men traits are not coherent with the beauty and conservation, nurture and spiritual manifestation and growth and maintenance mindset of women.
Devaki’s life is mostly spent within or around home. Her presence in the private sphere, her dedication for family care and her accountability for maintenance of family glory catches the central theory of Eco-feminism because the eco-feminist like Spretnak has associated “the feminine” with emotion, body, nature, connectedness, receptivity, and the private sphere. (Spretnak, Charlene. “Critical and constructive Contributions of Ecofeminism.” worldviews and Ecology< http://media.pfeiffer.edu/lridener/courses/ECOFEM.HTML>).
Sabitri Shrestha 46 of Khadpu, Dhulikhel complains that her husband rarely steps forward to calm their weeping child and according to her there had been many cases when her husband lost his temper and slapped the child when something trifles would go wrong. Women attachment towards the family growth is apparent in above case while it can be generalized that men naturally by their assertive nature display violence and destruction unlike peace, love and affection by women. Sita Bishunke 30 of same village says that her husband always works outside home and he is very unworried about degrading economic status of family. Despite her insist, her husband doesn’t allow her to work outside. This clearly verifies how women are prevented from exposure at larger social level while men are supposed to take less interest in home affairs.
What do you find most comfortable work for yourself? Muiya Bishunke 45 of Khadpu replies, “I work in my own local field and plough it with hand tools there. Whenever I am free, I go to my field and think about how I can produce more vegetable”. “When asked about her husband involvement, she adds, “He is not that kind of working person. But he wouldn’t step behind to manage tractor to plough the field”. This striking difference of working pattern between men and women has also connection with the concept of eco-feminism. Women want to produce green vegetable by using the hand tools but men due their bigger materialistic aim, chooses machine to accomplish the same things that could be done by non-machinery tools. Men seem to be unconcerned or irresponsible about the harmful consequence of their act on the environment while women act are naturally adjusted in the favor of nature.
Inference at broader spectrum
It’s clear that Eco-feminism is relatively a new concept to explore the gender-based behavior in relation to their repercussions on the environmental condition. Charlene puts forward her argument that the earth, which we honor by word like “Beauty” and “Mother” would have been prevented from the present environmental destruction if women were handed over the sole responsibility to protect and promote in their own way rather than being dominated and isolated. (Spretnak, Charlene. “Critical and constructive Contributions of Ecofeminism.” worldviews and Ecology< http://media.pfeiffer.edu/lridener/courses/ECOFEM.HTML>). At the broader spectrum her argument implies that women can play constructive leading role than male in Business, politics and Education not just environmental protection. It’s their inherent traits like respect for all, honor, spirituality, emotional attachment etc that will facilitate them to produce constructive output in all fields.
Overall we can conclude Eco-Feminists shed lights on the ongoing fact that the domination of women and the domination of nature are fundamentally connected.
Spretnak, Charlene. “Critical and constructive Contributions of Ecofeminism.” worldviews and Ecology< http://media.pfeiffer.edu/lridener/courses/ECOFEM.HTML>