S-- at the- 4Jr~nevrsOityvofr-f.on d
GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
GENDER ROLES IN CARIBBEAN SMALL SCALE AGRICULTURE
Janet Henshall Momsen
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Paper presented to Conference on
GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
February 26 March 1, 1986
University of Florida.
Boserup (.1970) was the first to see the British Commonwealth Caribbean as
an anomolous region in terms of gender roles in agriculture. She suggested
that since Jamaica, as distinct from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto
Rico, had a relatively high proportion of women farmers it was more like Africa
than Latin America according to her continental-scale regional classification.
Boserup explains this anomaly in ethnic terms relating it to the preservation
of African farming traditions among a population mainly descended from African
slaves (Boserup, 1970, 63). This hypothesis appears to contradict her basic
model in which patterns of gender roles in agriculture are seen as being
primarily the result of changes in population density and farming techniques
with cultural perceptions of such roles considered to be irrelevant. This essay
considers the Boserup hypothesis using evidence from both historical sources and
The development of sugar plantations in the Caribbean in the seventeenth
century created a demand for labour which was met by the importation of slaves
from West Africa. By 1663 it was said that the very being of the plantations
depended on the supply of Negroes' (Williams, 1970, 136). At first male slaves
were more numerous but by the end of the eighteenth century the slave sex ratio
was in balance. The gender division of labour amongst these slaves was decided
not by slave memories of African traditions but by the European slave owners and
their traditions. Planters were aware that women worked in agriculture in Africa
and used this knowledge as justification for their utilization of female slaves
as field labourers in the West Indies. This role was accepted, above all, because
it was also the pattern of farm labour in England. There is strong evidence
that between 1690 and 1750 in England, there was little difference in male and
female participation in agricultural work: during that period it was said that
'gender differences appeared to be almost a matter of indifference to employers'.
Women in the 'formal' plantation economy
Within the complex occupational hierarchy of slavery, the position of the
woman slave was far less favourable than that of the male slave. William
Beckford (1788) wrote
'A Negro man is purchased either for a trade or the cultivation
and different processes of the cane the occupations of women
are only two, the house with its several departments and supposed
indulgences, or the field with its exaggerated labours.'
Apart from the midwife, doctoress or chief housekeeper and, to a lesser extent,
washerwomen, cooks and domestics, the slave elite consisted almost entirely of
men. For instance, on Roaring River Estate, Jamaica in 1756, of the ninety-two
female slaves, seventy were field workers, while of the eighty-four men only
twenty-eight were labouring in the cane fields. The gender division of labour
on Mesopotamia plantation in 1809 (Table 1) shows a similar pattern, with about
three-quarters of the women slaves but only one-third of the men working in the
fields. Although fieldhands performed the hardest labour, their living
conditions were far inferior to those of elite workers and, in consequence, they
experienced a higher death rate and suffered from greater ill-health than the
more privileged slaves. Pregnancy did not guarantee a lighter workload nor a
reduction in physical punishment. Throughout most of the period of slavery
women were expected to work in the fields until about six weeks before delivery
and return to work no later than three weeks after. The conflicting demands of
her reproductive and productive roles took a severe toll on the slave woman's
health. Gynaecological disorders were common and there is little doubt that the
harsh conditions of work contributed to the extremely low rate of natural increase
among slaves on West Indian sugar plantations.
Work in the fields was hard, monotonous and degrading and slaves gave their
labour unwillingly and inefficiently. The productivity rate was low and labour
was extracted through coercion. Women were subject to the same physical punish-
ments as men; under the overseer's whip 'neither age nor sex found any favour'.
Women were often regarded as more troublesome than men and during the later period
of slavery when there was abolitionist pressure to ameliorate conditions planters
opposed legislation forbidding the whipping of black women on the grounds that the
latter were 'notoriously insolent' and only kept in some 'tolerable order' through
fear of punishment. The privileges accorded male elite slaves were available to
most female slaves only through concubinage or 'the selling of sexual favours'.
The majority of women remained in the fields, working in harsh conditions and
maintained by their owners at bare subsistence level. In addition, unlike the
men, they had the dual burden of childcare and housework on top of their agri-
cultural work. As Levy points out (1980) in Barbados slave women in the fields
were expected to carry baskets of manure weighing as much as seventy pounds and
when they returned to their huts at night faced additional household duties.
Women in the 'informal' plantation economy
The cost of feeding a large slave labour force persuaded many planters to
allow peasant-like activities to develop. Mintz has shown that as early as 1672
in Jamaica, male and female slaves were cultivating subsistence plots at weekends
and slave women were involved in buying and selling the surplus production from
their provision grounds on Sunday mornings in public markets (Mintz, 1964, 25-51).
This growth of marginal production and internal trade within the plantation slave
economy with its concomitant gender division of labour occurred to varying degrees
on other West Indian islands, including Montserrat, Tobago, St. Vincent, Dominica,
Grenada, Barbados and St. Kitts, as well as in Jamaica (Edwards, 1980). Such was
the importance of the Sunday market to the entire population that the stringent
laws restricting the mobility of slaves were relaxed where marketing activities
were concerned. In a wider social context, the unusual mobility of market
women, in particular, enabled them to facilitate communication between the
plantations, a significant feature in organised slave resistance as well as the
development of creole society.
Post-emancipation division of labour
By the end of the eighteenth century in England regional variations in types
of agriculture had produced different practices in the division of labour by
gender (Pahl, 1984). In the new capitalist agriculture of South-East England
technological changes had led to the squeezing out of women from agriculture
with the effect of limiting them to lighter work such as weeding and haymaking.
Gradually women moved away from agriculture and into domestic service. The
increasing scale of production and commerce led to the separation of public and
private spheres of work with the men in the public sphere and the women at home.
These developments have been identified with Victorian morality and new middle
class assumptions about the role of women. By the mid-nineteenth century such
metropolitan attitudes had been transferred to the colonies and the planters
found themselves torn between moral certitude and economic preference.
With the ending of slave apprenticeship in the British West Indian colonies
in 1838 many women ex-slaves sought the private sphere hitherto denied them and
it was said that 'mothers of families have retired from the field, to the duties
of the home'. (Morsen, 1841). Regional differences in wage rates encouraged the
ex-slaves to celebrate their freedom by migrating from island to island. Gender
specific migration led to high female sex ratios in many territories. Food prices
rose rapidly and women were forced to return to agricultural work in order to
feed their families. The problems of this inflationary period produced the
curious situation described by Levy in that 'while the planters criticized mothers
for neglecting their offspring, they preferred to hire females, whom they considered
more regular than males in their work habits' (Levy, 1980). In Trinidad, at this
time, labour demand was being met by indentured labourers from India. The planters
declared that for economic reasons they wanted to bring in only able-bodied men
but the British government insisted on a small proportion of female workers on
the grounds that this would prevent immoral behaviour and prostitution (Tikasingh,
1973). These indentured labourers of both sexes were treated as severely as
slaves had been since many estate managers wished to extract the maximum returns
from their investment during the period of the contract (Lowenthal, 1972). Harry
(1980) quotes a newspaper report based on interviews with three women who had
been indentured in the late nineteenth century. According to their story:
'In the cultivation you will find that the women dominated the
group. They were out early in the fields performing hazardous
duties like dropping lime and phosphate of ammonia, planting
foods on the estates, that is vegetable crops and ground
provisions, manuring, cutlassing, weeding, cutting canes,
loading them on carts, and most of the time carrying the canes
on their heads'. (Battlefront, 1978)
In addition to this field work, women were responsible for childcare, housework
and general family maintenance. Thus, under forced labour there was very little
differentiation of agricultural activities based on either gender or ethnicity.
Gender roles under a free labour system
Since the ending of apprenticeship and indenture gender roles in West
Indian peasant agriculture have been largely determined by two factors:
migration, and to a lesser extent type of agriculture. Migration has become
an institutionalized aspect of West Indian society. This migration is largely
gender specific with more men than women emigrating in search of employment.
Consequently most of the West Indies has had a high female sex ratio for the last
century and in 1970 the Commonwealth Caribbean had 238,781 female headed house-
holds constituting 35% of all households in the region (Buvinic and Youssef,
1978). The proportion of female householdheads varies from one-half amongst the
highly migratory Afro-Caribbean population of St. Kitts-Nevis to one-quarter in
Trinidad and Tobago. Female members of Caribbean farm households may play three
economic roles related to agriculture. They may be the decision maker on their
own farm, they may market the production of their own and other farm enterprises
and they may work as agricultural labourers on their own or other agricultural
holdings. These roles are not mutually exclusive and any one individual may
fill all three at different times of year or at various stages in her life cycle.
In particular. communities one of these occupations may predominate but from
time to time the emphasis may change as a result of exogenous factors.
Women as peasant farmers
Census data on gender divisions of labour on small farms is not widely
available and is subject to the usual caveats concerning the effect of enumerators'
and interviewees attitudes on under-reporting of women's economic activity rates
in agriculture (Dixon, 1985). Although the data presented in Table 2 for the Eastern
Caribbean comes from a wide range of sources and is somewhat spotty in its
coverage it is adequate to identify certain trends related to type of agriculture,
inter-island variation and changes over time. On the whole the proportion of
small farms operated by women has declined over the last two decades as the
economic base of most islands has widened. Only in the small impoverished
island of Nevis has this de-feminization of agriculture not occurred. Indeed
in Nevis it is not merely the case that women are maintaining their operation
of the family farm but that women are also actively taking up vacant lots on
government land settlements in order to grow food with which to feed their
families (Momsen, 1986).
Female farming is most common on subsistence holdings and less so on those
farm enterprises oriented towards commercial cropping as the figures for St.
Lucia, Montserrat and Nevis in Table 2 show. In the larger island of Trinidad
there are several distinctive types of farming, and Harry (1980) in her survey
found that one-quarter of the rice and dairy farmers, 22% of the cocoa farmers,
18% of the vegetable farmers, 14% of the tobacco farmers and 13% of the cane
farmers were women. These differences are related to income, land ownership
and gender divisions of labour. Cane farmers had the highest levels of living
and women provided the smallest amount of labour on these farms. Most cocoa
farms were on freehold land and the women farmers in this group had generally
inherited their land from their spouse. Tobacco and vegetable farms were
predominantly on rented land. Female labour inputs were relatively high in
rice and dairy farming.
Examination of the structural characteristics of farms operated by women
shows that these farms are generally smaller, have poorer quality land, are less
accessible to markets and are less likely to include rented land than those
operated t men. The structure and economic level of the female-headed household,
which is commonly associated with these farms, gives rise to labour problems and
to a dependence on the land for subsistence rather than for commercial production.
Women appear to view the farm as an extension of their domestic responsibilities,
concentrating on subsistence production of food crops and small stock rather
than on the export crops and cattle preferred by men. Sometimes, where the land
is jointly operated, women may see the land as a source of economic independence
from the male partner and thus may specialize in the production of fruit and
vegetables which can be sold on the local market. The overall picture of female-
operated farms is that of marginality in terms of capital, land and labour
resources, and largely reflects the economic insecurity of the matrifocal house-
hold. However, the dominant characteristics of these farms vary from island to
island reflecting intra-regional differences in the availability of human and
Women in the Agricultural Labour Force
In addition to their role as peasant farmers, women have continued to play
an important role in the agricultural labour force, as they did in the days of
slavery. The decade following slave emancipation was marked by a rapid decline
in the agricultural labour force, as the women and children amongst the ex-slaves
moved into domestic occupations and education respectively and, where land was
available, the men became peasant farmers. The economic difficulties of the mid-
nineteenth century resulted in a slight increase in the rural proletariat but
this was followed by a century of relative stability in the absolute numbers of
agricultural workers in most of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean. The food
shortages of the Second World War brought the agricultural workforce to its
highest level since slavery but this peak was followed by a rapid decline as
alternative occupations became available to the proletariat (Momsen, 1969).
Within this overall trend the participation rate of women fluctuated as women
came to see themselves as a reserve labour force responding both to seasonal
and to longer term labour shortages in agriculture.
In the late nineteenth century, as men left the smaller islands in search
of economic opportunities overseas, the agricultural workforce became
predominantly female. Brizan indicates a ratio of 132 female to 100 male
agricultural workers in Grenada at this time. Brizan, 1985). In Jamaica from
1890 onwards the rural proletariat began to migrate to the towns (Eisner, 1961),
Women led this urbanward trend, unlike their minor role in overseas migration,
and their participation rate in the Jamaican agricultural labour force fell
from 49.2 per cent in 1891 to 19.9 per cent in 1943 (Roberts, 1957). In the
smaller, less urbanised islands the decline in the agricultural workforce did
not come until after 1946 and was accompanied by a relative increase in female
agricultural workers, especially in the unpaid family worker category (see
Table 3). These post-war changes support Boserup's theory that agriculture
comes to depend increasingly on unpaid female family labour as the number of paid
agricultural workers declines. However, as the tourism and manufacturing
sectors of the Caribbean economy expanded, agriculture declined as an employer,
and women, especially the younger, better educated ones, moved into these growing
sectors. By 1970 only about one-third of the workers in agriculture were women
and the decline during the sixties was most marked in Antigua where agriculture
was very depressed (Table 3).
The most striking development in the West Indian labour force since 1970
has been the increased economic activity rate of women, and the service sector,
in which women predominate, has superseded agriculture as the major employer.
Yet, agricultural labouring remains the main source of income for poor, rural
women and there is anecdotal evidence that high inflation during the 1970s has
forced many women back into subsistence agriculture. Agricultural surveys in
the Windward islands during this period indicate the continuing and ever increas-
ing role of women. Le Franc (1980) found that women formed 50% of the unpaid
family workers and 38% of the paid workers in Grenada's agriculture, 47% of the
unpaid workers and 41% of the paid in St. Vincent and 34% of the unpaid and 35%
of the paid workers in St. Lucia. In Barbados, although agriculture's share of
employment almost halved between 1970 and 1980, the proportion-of women workers
fell only from 38 to 36% (Barbados, 1985). In Montserrat, on the other hand,
although the number of male agricultural workers increased between 1970 and
1980, the number of women workers decreased and the female percentage of the
agricultural labour force declined from 33.4 to 22.6, in response to male
return migration and increased female employment opportunities in tourism and
the textile industry (Montserrat, 1984). It is clear that West Indian women
today, in general, consider agriculture as an occupation of last resort to be
followed only when there is no alternative way of feeding their families.
Gender Divisions of Labour
Women members of farm families work long hours. Knudson and Yates (1981)
in their survey on St. Lucia, found that women worked five to six hours a day
on the farm, three to four hours on housework, two to five hours on childcare
depending on the age of the children, and occasionally spent time on marketing.
It is scarcely surprising that 22 per cent of the women in this survey felt they
had no leisure time at all. The relative work input of men and women varies
with the economic status of the farmer, the type of farming, seasons, the
importance of off-farm employment and the sex of the farm operator. Both Edwards
(1961) working in Jamaica and Macmillan (1967) in Trinidad found that women's
role on the farm differed according to the male partner's economic status: in
poor families women performed all field tasks but as prosperity increased
dependence on female and child family labour declined. Harry (1980) in her
Trinidad survey found very little difference in the mean labour input of men and
women, with men averaging 4.9 days per week and women 4.8. Both sexes worked
seven hours a day in the busy season and three hours in the quiet season. How-
ever, women worked longer hours tan men in rice and vegetable farming while men
put in longer hours in cane and tobacco farms. Men who had off-farm jobs worked
fewer hours on the farm than average and women who operated their own farms worked
five to seven days per week on the farm. In Nevis, on the other hand, there were
distinct gender-based differences in the average hours worked and in the seasonal
pattern of employment. On average, women worked the same number of days per week
as in Trinidad, 4.8, but men put.in 5.5 days. At the busiest time of the
agricultural year women averaged 25 hours and men 35 hours per week, while in the
quiet season women worked 18 hours compared to 27 hours for men.- Thus the weekly
hours worked by women fell from 72 per cent of male hours in the busy season to
66 per cent in the quiet season suggesting that women form, to some degree, a
reserve supply of labour for the farm to be drawn on at periods of peak demand.
The allocation of tasks by gender has become more marked over time. Under
slavery both men and women carried out the full range of farming tasks in the
field and divisions of labour were based more on age than on gender. This
situation was still evident in Grenada in the 1930s when, as Brizan (1979) comments,
'rural womenfolk were engaged in all agricultural activities pursued by men, in
addition to their domestic chores.' Today gender differences largely conform
with the pattern found by Murdock and Provost (1973) in their cross-cultural
sample of 185 societies. In general, as shown by.field surveys in Nevis (Momsen,
1979) Trinidad (Harry, 1980) St. Lucia (Table 5) and St. Vincent (Table 4),
women perform the less strenuous tasks such as planting, weeding, fertilising,
moulding up of soil around young plants and harvesting. Men undertake the
preparation of the soil, the hoeing or ploughing, and the transporting of the crop
from the field. Some of these tasks are gender-neutral or interchangeable
especially harvesting and fertilising. Pest control is least likely to be under-
taken by women because they feel that the use of chemical sprays is dangerous to
women, especially when they are pregnant or lactating. Women farmers without
available assistance from male relatives will hire male agricultural labourers
for this task alone. Weeding is the task most often seen as suitable for women
only, especially on tobacco and vegetable farms, but weeding and pruning is
considered a masculine task for crops such as cocoa and bananas.
The gender division of labour associated with livestock is often considered
to relate to the size of the animal, with men caring for large animals and women
for small stock (Murdock and Provost, 1973). In the West Indies these gender
divisions appear to be more closely linked to specific tasks and to the level of
commercialization of the particular animal. Yates' work in St. Vincent and St.
Lucia revealed that the construction of sheds and fencing for stock, and the
slaughter of animals are jobs done only by men. Women help with daily care of
farm animals and with the milking and collection of eggs and are responsible
for the marketing of these products. In Trinidad men care for the beef cattle
and the equines while women do much of the work with the dairy cattle and look
after all other animals (Harry, 1980). In Nevis, where sheep and goats are of
major economic importance, men are normally in charge of all the animals, except
poultry, and do all the marketing of animal products. It would appear that in
both Trinidad and Nevis it is the level of commercialization of stock raising
which determines the gender roles, rather than the type of animal.
Rural women in the West Indies fulfil their roles within the constraints of
household structure, occupational multiplicity, time and space. The interaction
of these constraints is seen most succinctly in terms of a time geographical
diagram (Fig. 1). It is clear that the presence of older children reduces the
demand for the mother's labour in the fields and possibly may determine how far
the family is able to market its agricultural produce. Younger children keep
the mother tied closely to her private sphere of the home but many women develop
home-based income-earning opportunities such as baking, sewing or store-keeping.
Women are responsible for the dooryard garden of vegetables and herbs and the
poultry and pigs kept close to the house and fed on household scraps. Women are
least likely to work in the most distant fields which are usually kept in tree
crops or other crops unlikely to suffer from praedial larceny.
Under slavery gender roles in agriculture were undifferentiated but today
most rural people feel that women's roles are changing, according to Yates'
surveys in St. Vincent and St. Lucia. In Trinidad, Harry felt that the 'female
coolie syndrome', with women working up to sixteen hours a day in the fields and
the home from the age of 10 was disappearing with the improved educational
attainment of young women and the new opportunities for non-farm female employ-
ment. Yet the traditional pattern of male dominated gender relations is not
changing (Henry and Wilson, 1975) and as women expand their horizons and become
more confident they find themselves unable to alter their domestic work patterns
(John, Elwin et al., 1983). It is essential if West Indian peasant agriculture,
which depends so heavily on women's work, is to become more efficient that the
conflicts between women's productive and reproductive roles at the household
level are reduced.
1985 1980/81 Population Census of the Commonwealth Caribbean: Barbados
Vol. 1. Statistical Service, Barbados.
1978 Indentured labour. 19 May, 7, Vol. 2. Trinidad.
1788 Remarks upon the Situation of Negroes in Jamaica, London.
1970 Women's Role in.Economic Development. New York: St. Martin's
Brizan, George I.
1979 The Grenadian Peasantry and Social Revolution 1930-1951.
Working Paper No. 21. I.S.E.R. Jamaica: University of the
Brizan, George I.
1984 Grenada: Island of Conflict. Zed Books Ltd: London.
Buvinic, M. and N. H. Youssef.
1978 Women-headed households: the ignored factor in development
planning. Washington, D.C: International Center for Research
1985 Women's work in Third World Agriculture. Geneva: International
1961 Report on Economic Study of Small Farming in Jamaica. ISER, Jamaica:
University College of the West Indies.
1980 Jamaican higglers: their significance and potential. Monograph
V 11. Swansea: Centre for Development Studies, University College
1961 Jamaica 1830-1930: A study in economic growth. Manchester
Harry, Indra S.
1980 Women in agriculture in Trinidad. Unpublished M.Sc thesis.
University of Calgary.
Henry, Frances and Pamela Wilson
1975 The status of women in Caribbean Societies: An Overview of their
Social, Economic and Sexual Roles. Social and Economic Studies,
24: 2: 165-198.
Henshall, J.D. (Momsen)
1981 Women and small scale farming in the Caribbean. In Papers in
Latin American Geography in.Honor of Lucia, C. Harrison, 0. Horst
(ed). Muncie, Indiana: CLAG 28-43.
John, N., H. Elwin, S. Charles and H. Clarendon
1983 The G-Toc Cooperative of Dominica: Past and Future, In Planning
for Women in Rural Development. Barbados. WAND,.Extra-Mural
Department, University of the West Indies. 49-60.
Knudson, Barbara and Yates, Barbara A
1981 The Economic Role of Women in Small Scale Agriculture in the
Eastern Caribbean St. Lucia. Barbados: WAND, Extra-Mural
Department, University of the West Indies.
Le Franc, E.R.
1980 Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, in Small Farming in the less
developed countries of the Conmmonwealth Caribbean. Barbados.
Caabbean Development Bank 1-143.
1980 Emancipation, sugar and federalism: Barbados and the West Indies
1833-1876, Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
1972 West Indian Societies London: Oxford University Press.
1967 The development of market gardening in Aranguez, Trinidad. Ph.D
thesis. University of the West Indies, Trinidad.
1964 Currency problems in eighteenth century Jamaica and Gresham's Law.
In Process and pattern in culture: Essays in honor of Julian N.
Steward. A. Manners (ed.) Chicago: Aldine.
Momsen, J. Henshall
1969 The_Geography of Land Use and Population in the Caribbean with
special reference to Barbados and the Windward islands. Ph.D
thesis. University of London.
Momsen, J. (Henshall)
1986 Land Settlement as a Solution. In J. Momsen and J. Besson (eds.)
Attitudes to Land in the Caribbean. London: MacMillan. In Press.
1841 The present condition of the British West Indies: their wants and
the remedy for these. London: privately published.
1984 1980-81 Population Census of the Commonwealth Caribbean: Montserrat.
Volume 1. Jamaica: Statistical Institute.
Murdoch, G.P. and C. Provost
1973 Factors in the division of labor by sex: A cross-cultural analysis.
Ethnology 12, 203-225.
1984 Divisions of Labour. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
1957 The population of Jamaica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1980 Agricultural seasonal unemployment, the standards of living and
women's work in the southland east 1690-1860. Economic History
1973 The establishment of the Indians in Trinidad, 1870-1900. Ph.D thesis.
University of the West Indies, Trinidad.
1970 From Columbus to Castro. London: Andre Deutsch.
Labour Patt2rns at Mescco-mia =1antaticn. Jamaica. in 1809
Worers Males Famales plantation
Drivers 4 1 1.55
Craftworkers 25 0 7.75
Domestics 8 15 7.14
Field Cooks 0 6 1.86
Fieldworkers 45 92 42.55
Jobbers 7 0 2.17
Transport 6 0 1.86
Stockkeepers 14 2 4.97
Watchmen 19 0 5.90
Nurses 0 11 3.42
Total 128 127 79.19*
* 20.81% of the population wers classed as non-workers i.e. too young, too old,
or too sick.
(Adapted from Richard Ounn's table in 'A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life
at Mesocotamia in Jamaica and Mount Airy in Virginia, 1799 to 1828', William
and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol.XXXIV, No.1, 52.)
Sex of decision makers on farms of less than 10 acres in selected
Eastern Caribbean territories
Island Year of Survey Sample Size Percentage farms with
female decision makers
Barbados 1963 207 53.1
Barbuda 1971-73 234 28.2
Grenada 1969 256 20.7
Grenada* 1969 214 18.7
Martinique 1964 203 35.5
Martinique 1981 17919 20.0
Montserrat 1972 527 44.2
Montserrat 1983 125 32.1
Montserrat* 1973 60 36.6
Montserrat* 1985 136 27.9
Montserrat 1950 205 29.2
Nevis 1979 91 30.8
Nevis 1985 407 38.3
St. Lucia 1964 187 42.8
St. Lucia 1980/81 7520 23.0
St. Lucia* 1971 47 17.0
St. Lucia* 1984 152 15.8
St. Vincent 1972 6862 46.2
Trinidad 1979 80 28.8
*Sample drawn from commercial farmers only.
Sources: Field Surveys for Barbados, Martinique, Nevis, Montserrat (1973)
and St. Lucia (1964 and 1971). Data for St. Vincent and Montserrat
(1972) comes from the 1972 Agricultural Census. Data for Grenada
from John S. Brierley Small Farming in Grenada W I Winnipeg 1974;
for Barbuda from Riva Berleant-Schiller, Production and division of
labor in a West Indian peasant community, American Ethnologist 4
1977 pp 253-272; and for Trinidad from I 5 Harry, Women in
Agriculture in Trinidad, unpublished M Sc thesis, University of
St. Lucia 1980/81 and 1984 data supplied by Department of Agriculture,
Castries. Montserrat (1983)Census of Agriculture, 1983 data
supplied by Department of Agriculture, Plymouth. Nevis 1950 and
1985, Farmers on Land Settlements, data supplied by Department of
Agriculture, Charlestown. Martinique, 1981, Recensement General
de 1'Agriculture, 1980-81, Martinique, SCEES, SRSA-DOM, DDA
Percentage of Women in the Agricultural Labour Force of
Selected Caribbean Territories 1946,1961 and 1970
Percentage of Women
Agriculture's Share of
Male Female Total
12.0 8.4 10.6
16.5 15.3 16.0
46.6 27.2 39.5
34.2 31.9 33.3
36.7 30.1 34.2
46.1 27.8 39.7
32.2 23.1 29.0
Sources: West Indian Census,1946 Vol.1.(Kingston,Jamaica,1950);
Agricultural Census of the West Indies,1961,Eastern
Caribbean Territories (Bridgetown,Barbados,1968);
1970 Population Census of the Commonwealth Caribbean
Gender Divisions of Labour
Type of Job
Preparation of Soil
Care of Livestock
on Small Farms in St. Vincent
Percentage Distribution of Labour
Male Female Joint Not Applicable
SourcetAdapted from a sample survey of small farms
undertaken by Barbara Yates in 1981.
in St Vincent
Gender Divisions of Labour on Small Farms in St Lucia
Type of Job
Preparation of Soil
Care of Livestock
Percentage Distribution of Labour
Male Female Joint
Source:Adapted from Tables III-13 and 111-15 in The Economic Role
of Women in Small Scale Agriculture in the Eastern
Caribbean-St Lucia by Barbara Knudson and Barbara Yates
Women and Development Unit,Barbados.1981.
FARMER.AGED 44. WITH 3 4 acre FARM. ALSO WORKS
FULLTIME AS BAKER WITH WIFE, AND PARTTIME AS CARPENTER.
22 i !
16 i l
a 12 11
S12 I : i
Business Farm Home School Market
--..- 2 sons over
.......... 5 children under
15 years of age
FIGURE 1: HOUSEHOLD DIVISIONS OF LABOUR