Gender and precarious work in agriculture

Kathleen Sexsmith, Megan A.M. Griffn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Women farmworkers are vulnerable to severe forms of reproductive injustice that serve to control and discipline their labor-and to keep food cheap. This chapter uses the Reproductive Justice framework developed by SisterSong to analyze gendered forms of labor control experienced by migrant and immigrant workers in US agriculture. Our review of the literature covers farmworkers’ experiences of sexual violence, constraints on their expression of sexuality, the inadequacy of wages for raising families, pesticide exposure (particularly among pregnant women and children), unsafe and indecent housing conditions, and the extended family separations that intrinsic to guestworker visa programs. We find that an intersectional analysis is necessary to understand these forms of reproductive injustice, which are exacerbated by inequities of gender, race, ethnicity, class, immigration status, and age. However, women farmworkers should not be construed as passive victims. Rather, we conclude by demonstrating their efforts to transform the structures that oppress them through resistances at the level of the farm, community, and the nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780429578465
ISBN (Print)9780367190019
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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