Inderscience Publishers

Gender role flexibility and smallholder survival

Pluriactivity is the usual survival strategy adopted by smallholders. This strategy is effective when it is accompanied by considerable gender role flexibility that allows the combination of men's and women's farm work and farm management contributions. Interviews with 296 smallholders in rural Greece showed that the most adaptive survival strategy is adopted when pluriactive male partners legally transfer the farmer status to their wife by transferring land ownership and/or the farm management to her. The large majority of these women become integrated in the agricultural occupation both at the institutional and the farm level, their integration indicating a high degree of gender role flexibility within the farm household. Such a high degree of gender role flexibility, however, is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for farm survival. It is the official institutional recognition of women's farmer status that constitutes the determining factor for farm survival.

Keywords: smallholder survival, gender role flexibility, women', s integration, farmland inheritance

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