Rural Women’s Livelihoods in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka: Connection between Participation in Agriculture and Care Work across the Life Course


Gunawardana, Samanthi Jayasekara. 2018. “Rural Women’s Livelihoods in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka: Connections between Participation in Agriculture and Care Work across the Life-Course.” Monash Gender Peace and Security Centre Research Papers 1/2018, Monash University, Melbourne.

Author: Samanthi Jayasekara Gunawardana


This working paper explores the relationship between participation in rural agricultural livelihoods and unpaid care work across the life course of rural Sri Lankan women. This research was conducted as part of an Oxfam-Monash Partnership2 that set out to explore the barriers and enablers for rural women’s participation and recognition in agricultural livelihoods in post-war Sri Lanka. Our study shows that rural Sri Lankan women’s participation in agriculture dropped to the lowest levels when they had young children. Paradoxically, their engagement in any other non-agricultural livelihood activity peaked at this time in their lives. Activities included home-based non-agricultural production, garment productin, self-employment, and migration on temporary labour contracts. Thus, women did not exit livelihood activities altogether when they had children. Rather they took up non-agricultural work. Once women were in their 40s, participation in agriculture again increased for our sample.

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Care Economies, Gender, Women, Households, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

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