Women in Ag: Scots report highlights need for ‘fundamental cultural change’
The Women in Agriculture Taskforce commissioned by the Scottish Government has found that women’s contribution to the industry can be undervalued, downplayed, or simply unseen.
A report by the group concluded that “fundamental cultural change” is needed to bring about gender equality in the agricultural industry.
- The taskforce’s recommendations include:
- Creating an environment that empowers women to take up leadership posts and supports fairness of opportunity;
- Ensuring women have equal access to skills development opportunities to enable them to succeed and their businesses to flourish;
- Challenging existing cultural norms that view men as the heirs to agricultural businesses;
- Developing an Equality Charter for Scottish agriculture that will be mainstreamed into all Scottish Government agricultural and related policies.
Co-chair and Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “It is neither acceptable nor business-savvy for the agricultural industry to be so male-dominated. Male-only structures and boards must be consigned to the past, as Scottish agriculture simply cannot afford to leave women behind.
There are many women working in Scottish agriculture who have the ability, creativity and determination to drive the industry forward. Scottish agriculture must include and involve their talents more fully and equitably.
“Both I and the taskforce, recognise that cultural change on this scale requires time and that while some solutions can be quickly implemented, others will be more long term.
“I would like to thank the taskforce for its work and look forward to working with it and industry on this important piece of work.”
Co-chair Joyce Campbell said: “This report is going to challenge people and shine a light into the darker corners of Scottish agriculture.
“But we hope it will also inspire and point towards a future agricultural industry that is strong, resilient and successful.
“It’s essential that organisations and businesses within Scottish agriculture work together to embrace diversity and equality, just as every other industry in Scotland is doing.
Scottish agriculture cannot afford to be seen as the last bastion of sexism and outdated attitudes. We want an integrated, inclusive industry where everyone is welcome and valued and these recommendations will help to achieve that.
The Women in Agriculture Taskforce was established by the First Minister at the Royal Highland Show in 2017 to provide recommendations on how to best ensure that women are better represented in Scottish farming.
The Scottish Government is currently working on the delivery of the three pilot programmes developed by the Women in Agriculture Taskforce, specifically aimed at women living or working in Scottish agriculture.
The contract for the ‘Be Your Best Self’ pilot has just been awarded through Public Contracts Scotland to Sheila Campbell-Lloyd of Inner Works Coaching.