Quote from AgriDiversity regarding lack of women in agriculture “this issue negatively impacts the entire agriculture sector, which needs strong leadership and diverse perspectives to enhance its profitability and competitiveness. In general, greater workplace diversity improves productivity and worker retention, and women-led companies tend to outperform the average financially.”
Farmer Sally? Do you know her?
The Farming industry is still very much, male dominated. When someone says the word Farmer, if we are being honest, most of us still picture a male in this role.
Women have come a long way in Agriculture. According to Statistics Canada’s most recent census of agriculture, women accounted for 28.7 % of all farm operators in 2016. That was up from 27.4 % in 2011, and from 25.3 % in 1996. As good as this upward trend is, women in agriculture still have a long way to go. That is only 30% of the farming population. In an article from Farm Work to Feed Canada about the challenges and opportunities for women in Canadian agriculture a student from Guelph university reported that her Agriculture classes were a 50/50 split. What is happening after college to discourage these smart, well-educated women? Although the number of women farm operators increased, the total number of women who are farming is still on a downward curve and is expected to keep on that curve unless the challenges women are facing can be overcome.
How you can help change this? How do we empower women to overcome the obstacles in this industry?
- Celebrate the women in agricultural leadership roles for their successes,
- Encourage women in leadership roles to be mentors to other young females coming up in the industry,
- Hire more women on your farm,
- Praise the farms that provide opportunities for women,
- Start monitorship programs for women,
- If you are a women in agriculture offer to give talks to your community schools,
- Speak out against stereotypes and wage inequality,
- Lastly, picture a women next time you think of a farmer.
In 2019, to address the gender disparity, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) developed the Women Entrepreneur Program to provide support for female entrepreneurs with a commitment of $500 million over 3 years. FCC has also developed a resource page to support women searching for programs, funding and resources.