No More the Farmers Wife! More Women Are Taking Up Farming Globally

Women have always been farming the land, according to the history books and even today, however, they largely have remained in the background, since men take the glory when it comes to the agricultural sector. However, things are changing, particularly in the West, where farming is regarded as an occupation if you’ve failed in the academic world, but many women are proving this to be false. 

“I’d never run a farm before, and I was female, so I had many different barriers that I was trying to overcome”

“I went into the pen where there were these big male sheep, flipped one on its bum and started filing its feet. I’d stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any man,” says 27-year Hannah Jackson who was considered too weak to be a farmer. As someone who thought herself too glamourous to work the land, everything changed when she witnessed the birth of a lamb while in The Lake District. Although she would not trade her farmer’s job for the world, it hasn’t been an easy journey for her, she says, “I had people that wouldn’t give me a chance when I originally came into farming: I had red hair, I was a proper Scouser, I’d never run a farm before, and I was female, so I had many different barriers that I was trying to overcome.” Furthermore, farming has never been an occupation to boast about especially on social media, but her Instagram handle, Red Shepherdess has quite the fan following of 16,000 and 25,000 followers on Twitter. 

Agriculture has depended so heavily upon women for centuries

30-year-old Liz Haines is an Oxford graduate and therefore, it was shocking that someone of her intellectual caliber should take up farming. “I’m not naturally an outdoorsy person. I’m a bookworm, so it’s been a massive shift for me. I’ve surprised myself by what I’m able to do. Even my husband was told: ‘You’re a clever boy, you shouldn’t go into farming,” says Haines. On the other side of the world, Aussie Debbie Dowden is giving farming a new face; her story has been told in a documentary titled, ‘Visible Farmer.’ Did you know that until 1994, no Australian woman was allowed to list her legal occupation as a farmer? Dowden said, “I have absolutely been invisible in my role — not just myself, but I speak on behalf of a lot of women on the land. But every now and then we have to stand out from the shadows [to] remind people that agriculture has depended so heavily upon women for centuries.” Moreover, with technology taking over much of the manual labor in farming, women are becoming a whole new breed of tech-saving, modern farmers, the world really needs.

Image credit: Daily Mail

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