Farm News: The Myth of the Manly Farmer: Why Do We Still Assume Women Don’t Work on the Land?

January 20, 2022

In Australia, women were not allowed to list ‘farmer’ as their occupation on the national census until 1994.

Now, although 49% of farm income is generated by women, the myth of the male farmer continues to marginalize female farm workers around the world. This harmful misconception is likely borne of the decades-old characterization of farmers as strong, tough, and dominant (not to mention, male).

Because they've been written off as incapable, women have found it enormously difficult to enter the agricultural industry. But, no matter how they have behaved, throughout history, female farmers have been viewed more negatively than their male counterparts.

Today, even though public perception has improved, things remain largely the same for women in the agricultural sector.

But the news isn't all bad...

Unlike mainstream production, small-scale agriculture facilitates greater access to resources for female farmers.

Research shows that women are more likely to be fairly represented on a community level rather than within an industrial or large-scale system. This means it's especially important that we support small, rural farms that value the contributions of female farmers.

Thankfully, we know some amazing farms maintained, founded, and led by some equally amazing women. These are the farms creating space for women in an industry to which they already contribute so much.

It's about damn time, isn't it?


Article by Local Roots contributor Jess Santoro // @jess_santoro

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