The role of women in traditional farming systems as practiced in homegardens: A case study in Sylhet Sadar Upazila, Bangladesh
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In this article the authors examine the extent of female participation in managing homegarden activities. They also explore the impact of homegardens on women's economic status, and female awareness of home garden projects that would support forest conservation in Sylhet Sadar Upazila, Bangladesh. This area was chosen because 1) Bangladesh has less than 10 percent natural forested area; 2) homegardens, which are important in the wood sector, are a regular feature in this rural part of Bangladesh; and 3) as a result of the small amount of land and rapid destruction of forest, it is becoming more and more difficult to meet the population's demand for timber, food, and firewood. The data was collected using a two-stage sampling design. In the first stage, 4 out of 689 villages were selected to participate in an exploratory survey. In the second stage, 20 households with homegardens were selected from each village for participation in the study. The research indicates that women are the predominant managers of the many homegarden activities. Because women receive benefits such as food security, health care, environmental benefits and income, they are more interested in preserving homegardens. The study found that women were aware of homegarden conservation techniques and tended to motivate husbands, children and neighbors to participate in conservation. The study suggests that by increasing the involvement of women in managing homegardens, it would improve their economic status, help sustain the income of their communities, and preserve biodiversity in homegardens.