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Boulder, Colorado, Westview, 1982. 262 p. (Westview Special Studies on Women in Contemporary Society)This book provides a descriptive analysis of the historical, cultural, and environmental causes of women's current status in rural Asia. This analysis is requisite to improving the quality of these women's lives and enabling them to contribute to the economy without excessive disruption of family life and the social structure of the rural communities. Many studies of rural areas have ignored this half of the population. Analyzed in detail are social and economic status, family and workforce roles, and quality of life of women in the rural sectors of monsoonal and equatorial Asia, from Pakistan to Japan, where life often is characterized by unemployment, underemployment, and poverty. It has become increasingly necessary for rural women in this region to contribute to family budgets in ways beyond their traditional roles in crop production and animal husbandry. Many women are responding by taking part in rural industries, yet the considerable disadvantages under which they labor--less opportunity for education, lower pay, and poor access to resources and high status jobs--render them much less effective than they could be in their efforts to increase production and reduce poverty. A review of the activities of national and international agencies in relation to the status of women is also included, as well as an outline of major needs, and current indicators of change.