Published April 29, 2013
By Dr. Tyra Oldham
The importance of looking at sustainability from within nexus is the ability to look outside of your sector and identify the crossover opportunities. Women in agriculture is expanding from small scale agribusiness to the opportunity for large scale crop development. “The USDA’s statistics show that the giant majority of women in agriculture are entering at small scale diversified agriculture farming.” Women in leadership are crossing into all sectors of sustainability to have impact in the lives of their families and on the global business stage. The barriers are engrained into the fabric of society that one opportunity at a time can become the beginning that changes the tide.
The article “Q&A: How women are taking a leadership role in agriculture” in a response from Leigh Adcock, executive director of the Iowa-based Women Food and Agriculture Network on women in agricultural sustainability.
What is profound is that women are experiencing the same or similar inequities across industries and sectors. Women to date, still make $0.77 for every dollar a man makes contributing to a $431,000 lifetime wage gap, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The disparity is more problematic for women of color where race and gender are factored into the lower-wages.
Adcock said, “women own about half of farmland in Minnesota, but they need support as they take on management and leadership roles on farms and in the agricultural industry. Adcock points to her own organization as proof that women farmers are asserting themselves. She said membership has grown from 300 to 3000 over the past five years,” offers MPR News.
Support is often provided for women by mentorship or passed down by families. When women are not educated through family ties, the next step is to enter into an industry for on the job training or last, having access to capital to purchase an ongoing business or partnering for knocking down the barriers to entry. These portals are not easy to obtain or visible but exist.
“One of the problems still for women when they’re looking for access to land and credit, they tend to be overlooked by some of the traditional lenders and traditional sellers, because they’re women, so there is some gender bias in agriculture.”
Access to capital, credit and intelligence is not only a problem in agriculture but manufacturing, construction, engineering, professional services, technology, sciences, math, energy, law, aviation and may this list continue. I look at capital as tripartite (intellectual, social and economic) which if you have access to at least one capital you have an opportunity. Women are breaking into varied fields and yet, the support and the role of women within these fields are still obscure. The importance is for women to find partnerships and access portals to knowledge and opportunities when presented. Women are challenged to overcome the preexisting barriers that continue to persist the aid of other women can drive momentum. Women in the pursuit of sustainability increases and deepens the supply chain for women in business.
The opposition of women to build economic portals and platforms for themselves will be the hardest barrier to overcome. The ending pun is women need to feed themselves, as well as seek nourishments from the sources that support their development and success.
- Sustaining Agriculture through Sustainability (LANDsds SustainableVoice.com)
- The gender gap (dawn.com)
- Women Entrepreneurs-The Time is Now (theformationscompany.com)
- Scientists Urge European Union to Embrace Genetically Engineered Crops (blackchristiannews.com)