The decisive work of women in the fields
One of the characteristics of rural farming societies is the division of labour by gender. Women have always had an invisible, and usually unpaid, role in the history of farming, but an essential one to mitigate the pressures of small-scale farming. Women have provided much of the labour for agriculture as well as other tasks like looking after the family, preparing food and looking after livestock, all of them essential tasks for maintaining the family economies of peasants.
The introduction of chemical products and the mechanisation of farm labour were the two factors which intensified the masculinisation of agriculture. For example, the advent of the Industrial Revolution did away with manual weeding (“aclareo”) which many women had carried out in the fields of Madrid due to the arrival of pesticides. For the FAO food security and family wellbeing are two important reasons for protecting or increasing access to and control of the land by women, and other productive resources.