Risk Factors for Gender-based Violence: The Case of Indian Agriculture

The present study documents the incidence of domestic and workplace violence among Indian female agricultural workers, and the factors that put these women at risk of violence. Multiple years of nationally representative domestic violence data are analyzed, for the first time focusing on agricultural laborers. This analysis is supplemented by a summary of case studies on working conditions for female tea plantation workers, who form the bulk of hired female agricultural labor in India, focusing on factors that enable workplace violence in this setting. Taken together, the results suggest that, in the case of female agricultural laborers in India, there is significant overlap in the factors that put women at risk of domestic violence and the factors that seem to facilitate workplace violence.

Among the most important findings, we observe that women whose families have a history of domestic violence, and women whose partners drink frequently, are about 20 percent more likely to be survivors of domestic violence themselves. Importantly, women who are employed are more likely to be survivors of domestic violence, especially women who are employed in commercial plantations, which further confirms the need to look at domestic and workplace violence in connection with each other.

The review of existing evidence on workplace violence on tea plantations reveals that the extreme and unequal plantation hierarchies, migrant status of the workers, and lack of other job opportunities for female tea pluckers all contribute to a setting where workplace violence is normalized. As with domestic violence, accounts suggest that alcohol consumption aggravates the problem.

This research is novel in that it makes the connection between domestic and workplace violence explicit. It argues that, in this setting, these issues should be studied in tandem. We also hope to raise broader awareness about the key link between workplace and domestic violence, and the prevalence of abuse within the household.



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