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Gender Differences in Agriculture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Employment
Wordcount: 2484 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Title:  “Gender differences in agriculture, are more women taking on agricultural roles?”

Introduction: Previously agriculture has been seen as predominantly a man’s job as it was very much manually labour based however within the previous 20 years or so this has changed. With the advancement in technologies, machinery now is used to do the hard laboured work; i.e. telematics can now be used to lift heavy feed.  In agricultural broadcasting they primarily feature men and training facilities are still mainly positioned for men (McGowan, 2011).

Using recent and past studies conducted with the census, national statistics and government research to help back up and provide evidence for this own investigation. Using research such as this can help to further develop findings on trends and figures surrounding women in agriculture.

The Scottish government conducted research in 2016, (RESAS) on ‘Women in Farming and the Agriculture Sector’. The aim of this research project is to explore the role of women in farming and the agriculture sector in Scotland. The research study found that across Scotland that there are approximately 1,118 women who are current students of agricultural courses at colleges and universities. The research also found that more women play a main role in Scottish agriculture, contributing in the complete variety of farming events.

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According to the newest figures by the office of national statistics showed that 87% of the agricultural workforce was that of male in the UK and only 17% were female. However the farmer’s guardian conducted a survey and discovered that there has been a 26% increase within the previous three years that women have been incoming into the agricultural segment. This survey helps suggest that more and more women are now succeeding careers in a largely male positioned business.

 Women sometimes see training groups and programmes as being mainly for men and feel unwelcome by this and by the lack of other females. According to (Barbercheck et al., 2009; Trauger et al., 2010; Teather, 1994) women aren’t seen as traditional farmers because of previous traditions and stereotypies. So therefore women do not get invited to training programmes to address their work.

It is documented however that there is a lack of evidence supporting women’s overall involvement in agriculture. A report in 2010 for EU parliament and women working on the farm (Shortall, 2010), it is noted that examining the position of women on farms ‘is more complicated than it may initially appear’ and that there is an absence of information to support women.

Statistics tend not to record the full variety of farm roles that are performed by women, there contribution is under stated and they are underestimated in farming.

With the use of studies and research that are available with supporting evidence of women’s overall involvement in farming. It can help to support the research project and to help encourage women to enter more agricultural roles. As noted there however seems to be a lack of evidence supporting women’s involvement in agriculture shows there is missing information currently in this line of research.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this research project is to investigate the gender differences in agriculture and are more women taking on agricultural roles.

The main aims:

• To recognise the numerous career trails that women who are involved in farming and the    agriculture segment take.

• To chart women’s contribution in agricultural organisations

•  Progress an understanding of the motives for the small ranks of female representation.

The main objective of this research is to establish whether women are becoming more involved in agriculture, which will help influence women to become more involved in agricultural roles and to enhance the roles of women in the sector.

The research objectives for this project are to:

  • Investigate the role of women in farming and the agriculture sector
  • Undertake surveys
  • Recognise both obstacles and prospects for women in in farming and the agriculture segment
  • Produce recommendations for women in agriculture and identify possibly suggestions to increase the number of women in agriculture.
  • Recognise if there are any gender differences in men and women in agriculture


Methods and Materials:

To gather information by conducting quantitative data and the quantitative data collection will involve two questionnaire surveys.

Firstly using an online questionnaire survey that is for women who are currently studying agricultural courses at university or colleges to identify an estimate of how many women are in agricultural studies throughout the UK.

A link for this online questionnaire survey will be sent to all SRUC campuses, CAFRE campuses and Harper Adams University to ensure a mixed variety throughout the UK. The link will also be distributed widely via social media and through communication with industry crowds.

The results will be filtered to eliminate individuals which do not meet certain criteria, for example;

  • Did not complete the survey
  • Did not identify as women
  • Weren’t studying or hadn’t completed studies in agriculture

By adding a question in at the end of the survey regarding whether they have any comments to support women in agriculture can help promote more women into the sector, as well as using the other information from the questionnaire to aid the research.

The second online survey will be aimed at women and men who currently work full- time in agriculture industry. The link to the online questionnaire will be distributed broadly via social media and through announcement by industry member’s individuals and organisations. For example through Harbro, SAC consultancy and other such industry, organisations.

Again these results will be filtered to eliminate individuals which do not meet certain criteria, for example;

•                     Did not complete the survey

•                     Did not work in the agriculture industry

This online questionnaire survey will help to identify how many women and men are currently working in the sector and what exact roles in they do in the sector. By finding out how much money they roughly earn while help determine if there is a difference in wages and gender in agriculture. Using this information it can help promote future policies and changes in agriculture to ensure gender equality.


  • Office supplies
  • Computer

Ethical Assessment:

Ethical thoughts in the research is very important . Ethics are the values for behaviour that discriminate between what is correct or incorrect for the researcher. It identifies the reliability and legitimacy of the project findings.

As part of the two surveys it needs to be ensured that all participants of the online surveys give their own informed consent as to whether their information can be used or not as part of the research study. All participant confidentiality must be respected as personal information must not be given out unless informed, this is the principal ethical problem with the online survey questionnaire research.

As this research project uses two surveys carried out by people data protection must be used which protects participant lawful rights to ensure that the data isn’t handled or used unlawfully.

All limits and faults of the survey should be disclosed to evade use of methods that intentionally present bias into the results.

Ways to avoid ethical issues in the research:

  • Not to collect data that has already been collected
  • Be clear on the research introduction so that participants are completely knowledgeable
  • Use the data collected only for the proposed purpose of the research
  • Be sure to obtain the participant consent

Data analysis


Hypothesis Example:

Null Hypothesis

  • There is no real difference between how much men and women get paid in agriculture

Alternative Hypothesis

  • There is a real difference between how much men and women get paid in agriculture

With the use of descriptive statistics  for the questionnaires to firstly summarise the data so it’s easier to interrupt.

For the first questionnaire survey, the most suitable tests would be a two way ANNOVA and a linear regression test.

A two way ANNOVA  is used to associate the means of the similar variable measured in two or more samples. This could be done by comparing whether the Female students chosen subject topics were associated to there future career on not.

Linear Regression as it explains a relationship between two variables e.g. whether they come from farms and if they plan to go back to work on the farm after graduation. This test will also determine if one variable effects the other and with the use of scatter plots it can draw a line through the data.

Intended for the second questionnaire survey, the most suitable tests would be an independent T test and chi – squared test.

For an independent T test, this would be to test the difference between men and women on a sole, unceasing variable. This would test the P values, mean differences, standard deviations and confidence intervals. For example there may be a significant difference men and women’s wages where men get higher paid than women so that’ll affect the significance levels.

The use of a chi-squared test to test differences between male and females. This makes for easier expectations about the data distribution, the data can be grouped into types and it is easier to analyse and interpret.

This tests for significant differences between the observed and expected result in males and females. A null hypothesis must be assumed to start this chi – squared test.


Stage 1 = background reading and finalising project objectives –

  • Viewing lots of literature and publications linked to the research project
  • Finding lots of data to examine and to help justify the project
  • Examining and identifying the project aims and objectives

Stage 2 = submission of project proposal

  • Proof reading the proposal
  • Submission

Stage 3 = literature review

  • Reviewing literature, publications and data
  • Justifications of Project
  • Current methodology review

Stage 4 = designing investigative procedures

  • Questionnaire Designs
  • Questions decision
  • System to present online questionnaire survey
  • Disruptors 
  • Submission and disrepute online survey questionnaires

Stage 5 = data collection (Carrying out surveys and results from questionaries’)

  • Collect Survey data
  • Analysis and format results

Stage 6 = data analysis and interpretation

  • Analysis data in depth
  • Collect statistical tests
  • Data presentation

Stage 7 = writing the (draft) dissertation

  • Format Dissertation
  • Proof read
  • Correct mishaps

Stage 8 = editing/finalising the dissertation

  • Proof read
  • Correct
  • Proof read
  • Edit

Stage 9 = submission date

  • Final proof read
  • Submission


  • McGowan, C. 2011. Women in agriculture. 141-153 in Pannell D.
  • Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) (2016). Women in Farming and the Agriculture Sector. Scottish Government.
  • Midgely, O. (2019). Role of women in agriculture more important than ever as number of new entrants rise. [online] Farmers Guardian. Available at: https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/role-of-women-in-agriculture-more-important-than-ever-as-number-of-new-entrants-rise-2747 [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
  • Randall, M., Randall, M., Bishop, A. and Randall, M. (2015). Labour in the agriculture industry, UK – Office for National Statistics. Ons.gov.uk.
  • Trauger, A., Sachs, C., Barbercheck, M., Kiernan, N., Brasier, K. and Findeis, J. (2008). Agricultural education: Gender identity and knowledge exchange. Journal of Rural Studies, 24(4), pp.432-439.
  • Shortall, S. (2010). Women working on the farm: how to promote their contribution to the development of agriculture and rural areas in Europe?. Brussels: European Parliament.
  • Sally Shortall. 2002. ‘Farmers’ Wives’: Women who are off-farm breadwinners and the implications for on-farm gender relations Journal of Sociology 38(4): 327-343



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