Is Genetic Engineering Liberating Women (by killing their husbands)?

By Dr. Vandana Shiva
GM Watch

More Desperate Science from Monsanto & Co. about Bt. Cotton in India Empowering Women

In yet another example of the desperate “science” of Monsanto and company, it is now being argued that Bt. cotton has liberated Indian women in the region of Vidharbha, Maharashtra which records the largest acreage under Bt. cotton and highest rate of farmer suicides. High costs of GM seeds and pesticides lead to debt, debt leads to suicides, creating Bt. cotton widows, not liberated “housewives,” writes Vandana Shiva.

Monsanto introduced its genetically engineered Bt. cotton in India illegally in 1997-98. As a result of a case fought in Supreme Court by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Monsanto Mahyco were not able to sell their Bt. cotton seeds commercially until the 2002 planting season. Since then, Monsanto has established monopoly in the cotton seed market through licensing arrangements with Indian seed companies and “intellectual property rights”. In India Bt. cotton = Monsanto.

Further, since the establishment of seed monopolies and creation of dependence of farmers on seeds that must be bought every year, and increasing dependence on agrichemicals, the cotton areas have become zones of deep indebtedness for farmers. And un-payable debt is pushing farmers to suicide. Most of the 200,000 farmer suicides in India are in the cotton belt of Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and most cotton is now Monsanto’s Bt. cotton. Instead of addressing the crisis it has created, Monsanto continues to offer a “spin” of Bt. cotton miracles.

In yet another example of the desperate “science” of Monsanto and Company, it is now being argued that Bt. cotton has liberated Indian women in the region of Vidharbha, Maharashtra which records the largest acreage under Bt. cotton and highest rate of farmer suicides. Arjunan Subramanian of HRI Warwick, Dr. Kerry Kirwan, Professor David Pink and Martin Qaim have put out a paper which says that Bt. cotton produces massive gains for women’s employment in India. This is one more in a line of earlier papers by Martin Qaim giving a spin that Bt. cotton is creating miracles even while hundreds of thousands of Bt. cotton farmers commit suicide. Arjunan Subramanian is Qaim’s student and Qaim represents Monsanto & Co. Every “study” done by him is public relations for Monsanto. The present paper is no different.

Every level of the paper is fraudulent. First, the argument that women have been empowered because of the introduction of Bt. cotton.

This is false on many grounds. Firstly, women have traditionally been seed keepers and seed breeders. The knowledge and skills related to seed conservation and seed breeding have been women’s expertise. The seed economy was a women’s economy. As long as seed was in women’s hands, there was no debt and no suicides. Women have acted as custodians of the common genetic heritage through the shortage and preservation of grain. In a study of rural women of Nepal, it was found that seed selection is primarily a female responsibility. In 60.4 percent of the cases, women alone decided what type of seed to use, while men decided in only 20.7 percent. As to who actually performs the task of seed selection in cases where the family decides to use their own seeds, this work is done by women alone in 81.2 percent of the households, by both sexes in eight percent and by men alone in only 10.8 percent of the households.

Read full post at GM Watchf Vidharbha.

9 responses to “Is Genetic Engineering Liberating Women (by killing their husbands)?

  1. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Is Genetic Engineering Liberating Women (by killing their husbands)? | Food Freedom

  2. Great article from a knowing person, Dr. Vandana Shiva.

    I was always, personally amazed at how feminists (of a now bygone era) heralded the great victory for women to be inducted into the man’s ‘downtown workplace’. You know, back in the ’70’s? Get out of the home, ya know, that’s NOT where’s it at!! Feminism: hooray hooray hooray!!

    All it really did, was create more killer robots. Cannibalistic, killer robots, that is….

    Ohhh, but I’m just a male chauvinist pig. Fit for slaughter now and then/whenever needed, because of my old-fashioned (ie., totally un-modern and out-of-date) views, not in keeping with the competitive realities of the ULTIMATE business and corporate world of today. Suits and ties and, NIKE sneakers, hey? ?? Portfolios and stocks and bonds, and ummm….’securities’….and…..ummm….BOMBS (VIOLENCE). Lots and lotsa BOMBS(VIOLENCE). To be safe, to be ‘sure’….

    Okay, robots. If you say so, it must be true.

    Great article, exposing just another small segment of a GREAT AND POWERFUL EVIL.

    An evil that must be stopped (somehow), if ever we are to again live….as man and woman, or anything else besides killer robots….


    • right on, Ned ~ She was the first person to inform me that most farmers in the world are women.

      I sat in an Italian history class where the professor explained that “the farmers’ wives worked the olive fields while the farmers tended the children and the homefront.” I thought, if she’s in the field, then the farmers’ husbands take care of the kids and homefront. He was a total sexist.

      but yeah, I have come to understand that getting women into the workforce created a bunch of low paid slaves for the system. Nice move – best not to trust those with a PhD who lead the masses unwittingly, by using the right words.

      system guards… I hate to admit it, but my biggest feminist hero, Gloria Steinem, turned out to be working for the CIA.

      And so now it takes two incomes to raise a family and our kids are growing up unattended by blood. How’s that for wrecking a culture for fun and profit?

  3. Rady – what can we do? It is so difficult shopping for clothes and shoes especially for someone on a limited income. I despise monoculture in every form. This planet thrives on diversity. Monsanto is the most evil empire on this planet. Excellent post.

  4. Thank you Rady

  5. Let’s join hands to stop all these genetic engineering and altering work. Do not forget that Monsanto is a major corp….it can take a small biotech company to start what Monsanto started.

  6. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

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