Unequal knowledge in Jharkland, India: De-romanticizing women's agroecological expertise
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This article uses empirical data collected during fieldwork research in India to reflect on the ecofeminist debates regarding women's environmental knowledge. The author recognizes the important role that ecofeminism played in changing the traditional developmental perspectives on women ("add women and stir"), nevertheless it cautions us to the dangers of a simplistic overestimation of women's knowledge. Women Environment and Development WED have adopted the ecofeminist perspective that women have an innate link with nature. Critics to this perspective say the view neglects caste, class, age, and gender unequal powers in negotiating resource use and management. Gender division of labor is well defined in Jharkhandi region, and there are also cultural gender taboos preventing women form participating in certain agricultural tasks. Other factors preventing women from acquiring agro-ecological knowledge include socio-economic and age status giving certain women the ability to hire or order others to do their work. Patrilocal residence also enables men to know the region better than their wives. For all these reasons, gender is only one factor between many influencing the acquisition of knowledge.