Cattle-Dung and Dung-Work: An Aspect of the Value of Women's Work in Rural North India

  • Roger Jeffery (Autor/in)
  • Patricia Jeffery (Autor/in)
  • Andrew Lyon (Autor/in)

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The work of transforming cow-dung into economically-valued products has not been treated as a matter of significant interest by economists and analysts of the Indian rural scene. In discussions of fuel, dung-cakes are dismissed as an inappropriate use of potential fertiliser; in discussions of fertiliser, the work of transforming dung into manure is usually ignored; and in discussions of women’s work, dung-work is rarely made a central focus. Drawing on our research in Bijnor District, we argue that this is a mistake, both for empirical reasons (it ignores a significant economic activity with considerable worth which takes a substantial proportion of women’s time) and for theoretical reasons. The paper does not contain detailed results of research because the topic was not one of our central concems either; we therefore include ourselves in the writers criticised. We hope to stimulate others to carry out such research, or to make public the results of research of which we are unaware.