Task Division amongst the Iban Farming Community within Men and Women in Kuala Tatau, Sarawak, Malaysia

Ugeh U. Daniel, Abdul Gapor Salfarina, Novel Lyndon, Mohd. Nor Shahizan Ali, S. Selvadurai Sivapalan

Abstract


Gender issues have always been the centre of attention when it comes to the study of farming activities in rural areas.This article aims to study the task division amongst the Iban men and women farmers in the dry rice paddy fields by the coast of Kuala Tatau, Sarawak. The method chosen in the course of this study was the qualitative research method by interviewing and discussing amongst focus groups and also observing the farmers in Sungai Semanok and Kuala Serupai. The outcome of this study was that most women worked full time in the paddy fields, whereas men work part time as contract workers to support the family’s household expenses. The men would only help the women when performing physical demanding tasks such as spraying pesticides in large quantity, transporting large amount of paddy, performing the manggul1ritual and paddy harvesting. For married farmers who works full time in the paddy fields, the men would seek for extra income by fishing or working as a contract worker as soon as they have completed work in the paddy fields, especially during waiting period for the burning, seedling and paddy harvesting and also when the harvest seasons end. This task division also was practice at home, especially for threshing and cleaning of the paddy from its dregs and processing it into rice. In conclusion, the task division amongst gender has always been divided according to the difficulty of the task, distance and private-public domains.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n4s3p136


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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