New report outlines the breadth and depth of the experience of farm women in Canada

Farm Management Canada executive director Heather Watson.

It may be surprising to learn that many of the assumptions made about the role of women in agriculture are based on rather old data, incomplete data, or anecdotes.

To better understand the role of women in agriculture and the barriers, challenges and opportunities they face, Farm Management Canada, in partnership with CentricEngine, has published a new report titled “Expanding Opportunities for Canadian Agriculture by Understanding the Experience of Farm Women.”

“Much has been said about the experience of women in farming, but little has been measured,” says lead researcher Maurice Allin, president of CentricEngine. “This is the first national study to establish a framework for identifying the activities undertaken by farm women and understand their motivations, aspirations and challenges to create a foundation of facts where none existed before.”

Results reveal women are making extraordinary contributions to farming in Canada with a high degree of involvement in virtually every aspect of the operation, says Heather Watson, executive director of Farm Management Canada. (more below the player)

Hear Heather Watson explain key findings of the report below, or download the podcast for later:

The research shows farm women continue to face significant challenges and barriers that need to be addressed. The level and satisfaction with communication about the farm proved to be a critical dimension in determining the nature of the experience of farm women. Other critical dimensions include women feeling valued and supported with their skillsets utilized, says Farm Management Canada.

Watson says that the hope is that this report becomes a leaping off point for several aspects of agriculture, including but not limited to ag policy, software design, equipment modification, event planning, and support programs.

The report offers over 30 recommendations presented under six (6) distinct groupings:

  • Support gender equity and equality initiatives in policy development, programming and governance
  • Create and enhance programming, development opportunities, and resources that specifically address the needs of farm women
  • Dedicate efforts beyond women in agriculture to focus exclusively on supporting farm women
  • Promote communication and interpersonal skills along with business management practices as essential components of farming
  • Expand existing research to more effectively capture data related to farm women (ex. Census)
  • Conduct additional research on the experience and contributions of farm women, factors that influence farm success, and a comparative study of farm men using the same human-centered lens

Farm Management Canada will be hosting a panel discussion at its 2023 Agricultural Excellence Conference taking place November 21-23 at Guelph, Ontario. The session will feature presentations by the lead researchers and invited guests from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and la Fédération des Agricultrices du Québec to explore how the findings of this research can inform policies, programs, and initiatives aimed at empowering farm women.

Read the full report, here.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture