This study presents a profile of women's contributions to frontier smallholder agriculture in Eastern Amazonia, Brazil. Through a detailed study of two communities in the Marabá region, women's participation in agricultural activities and the wider community is analysed. Results suggest that women's participation in agriculture has always been limited, even in their areas of origin, but that they become more involved at the beginning of the colonist phase due to the critical need for their labour, and in relation to the stage in the family life-cycle. Thus a decline in women's involvement in agricultural activity over time in colonist settlements is not indicative of a \"housewifisation\" process, but a shift back to a \"normal\" state of affairs where women largely perform domestic work within the agricultural system. Activities within the farming systems are found to be strongly gender segregated. In addition, women's representation at community and regional institutional levels is also examined, finding low levels of participation and empowerment, and a debilitating lack of investment in women's initiatives.
The role of women in colonist settlement in eastern Amazonia. ODG Research Working Paper. Appendix 5. Overseas Development Group (ODG), University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 37 pp.