KAWARTHA LAKES-Farm Management Canada in partnership with CentricEngine released some new research that sheds light on the crucial roles played by farm women in influencing farm success in Canada.
This comprehensive research, titled “Expanding Opportunities for Canadian Agriculture by Understanding the Experience of Farm Women,” underscores the indispensable contributions of women and offers a compelling narrative that highlights opportunities to foster a shift in the industry by supporting the unique needs 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. Furthermore, there is a tremendous diversity of experiences among farm women.
“We were surprised to learn that rather than demographic or farmographic differences, it is the interactions and relationships with others that most influence the experience of farm women,” says research partner Bob Wilbur, Principal at RW Strategic Perspectives. “Viewing the experience of farm women through a human-centred lens provides a clearer understanding of their situations and creates opportunities for more effective actions – we can now confirm a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.”
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.
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
To celebrate the release of this research, Farm Management Canada will be hosting a panel discussion at its 2023 Agricultural Excellence Conference taking place November 21-23 in 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.
“We are excited to unveil this transformative research, which provides a roadmap for empowering Canada’s farm women,” says Heather Watson, Executive Director of Farm Management Canada. “By recognizing and supporting the unique needs of farm women, we can unlock tremendous potential for advancing Canada’s agricultural sector from the grassroots, paving the way for future generations of farmers in Canada.”
This research was made possible through the contributions of the project Steering Committee including representatives from the Maritime Agriculture Women’s Network, la Fédération des Agricultrices du Québec, the Ag Women’s Network (Ontario), Ag Women Manitoba, Manitoba Women in Agriculture & Food, Women in Agriculture (Saskatchewan), Alberta Ag Women and BC Women in Ag.
The research was funded by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, FCC, RBC, WS and the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The Report is accompanied by an Environmental Scan that helped inform the national study. To read the Environmental Scan and Full Research Report, visit https://fmc-gac.com/programs-services/research-analysis/#farmwomen.