Gender Studies in Bangladesh
Labor, sharecropping and loans are complementary aspects in household economic strategy and together contribute to household’s class position. They also indicate multi-stranded links between two particular households in a patron-client pair. Sharecropping is the main way for poorer households to gain access to land. In Bangladesh, in the standard form of sharecropping, the cultivator bears all the costs and gives one half of the crop to the landowner as rent.
The wealthiest households, share out land to cut cash outlays, bestow patronage and to minimize investment of should labor, particularly as educated sons are less interested in working on the land, preferring businesses or salaried Jobs. Lower class households also share out their lands, either because of distance or shortage of household labor. Many of these households are headed by widows, or have male members who are unwell or incompetent. Sharecropping is not simply a matter of economics; it indicates a wider relationship between the landowner and cultivator.
It is not simply their wealth but also the upper or vulnerable household’s better social connections that underlie their referential access. Agricultural labor: Cropping changes have expanded the market for agricultural labor in Jumper. Like sharecropping arrangements, labor is freer than it was. Contracts are shorter term and most work is done by daily labor. No Bengali woman is hired as an agricultural laborer in Jumper. Again, benefits are therefore divided by gender as well as class: households without able adult men members are unable to take advantage of the new opportunities.
However, Santa woman works as agricultural laborer. But they work the longest of all. Here, clearly, is a classic case of woman’s outside employment, meaning they have to work a double day. Changing in labor contracts indicates shifts in the local form of class relations. Only young boys still have year-round contracts. Otherwise, regular labor is hired on a seasonal basis. Rates for regular work vary by season, age and skill. Seasonal contracts normally cease in the slack period before harvest. The change in the cropping system has meant more labor demand for more of the year.
Migrant labor comes in at peak times. Many of the migrants are young unmarried sons of middle class and small holding households. The migrants also include a few Santa and other ethnic minority female groups. Credit: Credit is the main step of so much of village life that it is difficult to identify one class as more dependent on it than another. Different classes enter into various kinds of credit arrangements for different source of purposes. Large debts do not necessarily indicate weakness: they also show the ability to mobile credit.
Here we are not with institutional credit but with loans between individuals, as they express different relationship within the village. Loans are most commonly taken for consumption, cultivation and wedding or funeral expense. If possible, transfers within the households are arranged to avoid having to take credit outside. Interest-free loans may be given between close relatives, particularly brothers and married or widowed sisters. Loans between people within the lower status group are a relatively new phenomenon in Jumper. It increases the dependence on the market for basic consumption needs.
It may represent a desirable alternative to accumulating dependencies on a richer patron. The classic kind of loan relationship, off richer patron loaning to a poorer client, is also evident in Jumper. Employees often go to their employers for loans and sharecroppers to their landowners. Patronage generally refuses loans to those who do not have a current functional relationship with them. Loans are not always given by richer patrons to poorer clients. Loans may also be given by workers or sharecroppers to employers or landowners. This is regarded as shameful.