Special Issue "Gender and Rural Development: Sustainable Livelihoods in a Neoliberal Context"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Pratyusha Basu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at El Paso, USA
Interests: women’s work; livestock-based livelihoods; Green Revolution; gender roles; sustainable development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The mainstreaming of gender issues in rural development programs seeks to challenge and transform gender inequalities through inclusion of women’s work and knowledge. Critiques of such attempts have considered how men also need to be enrolled in the project of challenging gender inequalities and whether the inclusion of women further burdens them with responsibility for development. While these critiques are useful, there is also a sense in which they remain confined within the bounds of rural development, missing how the broader context may change the very parameters of rural development. This broader context includes the rise of neoliberal governance as the principal approach to economic and social development, the increasing urbanization of the world, and the decline of small-scale agriculture in the face of competitive market pressures. The questions raised about gender and rural development thus have to change accordingly. Three possible pathways to new questions can be posited. First, it is useful to consider how widespread urbanization is affecting rural women and whether rural development programs are becoming a means to pursue new occupations or whether rural women are increasingly moving outside the reach of rural development. Second, the privileging of entrepreneurial identities and market-based livelihoods within neoliberal development has also reconstructed women as ideal neoliberal subjects. The extent to which this instrumental use of gender is being accepted or resisted needs to be examined. Third, the withdrawal of the state from providing social services may be pushing the burden of taking care of family members and neighbors onto women. The ways in which development programs are responding to new gendered responsibilities for care work in rural contexts is another fruitful arena for analysis. More broadly, there is a need to study how neoliberal development is changing the possibility of sustainable rural livelihoods and simultaneously constructing new gender identities.

This Special Issue seeks to take a broad and inclusive view of gender and rural development and welcomes qualitative and quantitative studies from across the Global South and North. It especially seeks articles that focus on how economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable livelihoods can be constructed in contexts of change.

Possible topics for the Special Issue include:

  • Changing notions of women’s and men’s work in crop and livestock farming;
  • Gendered aspects of new agricultural technologies (e.g., GMOs, high-yielding crop and livestock varieties, smart agriculture);
  • Rural women’s experiences of being connected to new market opportunities;
  • Reasons for migration of women from rural to urban contexts;
  • Rise of entrepreneurial and market discourses in rural development programs;
  • Encounters between global and local gender identities in development;
  • Environmental aspects of rural sustainability (e.g., climate change, deforestation, dams, loss of native species).

Dr. Pratyusha Basu
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • gender and development
  • gender division of labor
  • gender inequalities
  • women’s empowerment
  • market-led development
  • agrarian transition
  • crops
  • livestock
  • livelihood analysis

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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