Gendered space and quality of life: study of out-migration and smallholding agroforestry communities in West Java Province, Indonesia
Understanding the dynamics of communities of migrants and land owners is important in order to portray impact on out- and non-migrant relationships, as well as changes in land use. The aim is to see clearly whether out-migration decisions will have any impact on land-use patterns. Another important aspect is understanding how out-migration contributes to changes in gender equality in families and the surrounding community. This paper describes the knowledge patterns created from each gender group’s preferences and experience in managing land, which eventually determine the dominant gender. We emphasize leveraging inequality gaps between males and females contextually and situationally. Human well-being indicators, as well as the subjective perceptions of out- and nonmigrants, are discussed to show how both gender groups perceive their current and previous conditions in relation to management of their land and resources.A ‘gender space’ is based on the knowledge and preferences of each gender group and is strongly influenced by socio-cultural construction of responsibilities. Our study found a clear gender division between men and women in terms of participation levels. Gender divisions in farming and at home were closely related to the division of roles and responsibilities across a community. Women’s responsibility for children created a domestic area in which to work. Women were able to contribute to farm activities without being burdened by other obligations outside the house. In addition, women preferred to work in areas in which they were physically capable and felt safe.Overall, we found that women and men in the study villages had bilateral relationships that tended toward equality but conditions varied here and there. Women’s rights needed to be strengthened and better rewards should be considered for women’s active and passive contributions to households. Both women and men created strategies to develop their overall livelihoods. This could help women to see how they contributed to realizing the desired development. Men and women have different perspectives, knowledge and strategies in solving problems but are complementary to each other. Both parties need to work more effectively together to generate optimal results. Instead of creating a development design to make women become more active in areas in which they are uncomfortable, it would be more appropriate if if the design included enhancing knowledge, perceptions and strategies.