It is International women's day today and the growth of women in farming and in food production has been rapid over the past few years. Women now make up 28% of the agricultural work force in the UK and where once they were seen as the farmers wife, now they are farmers in their own right or farm jointly with partners or other family members. Around the world access to land rights and the reality of living lives while male family members go away to find better paid jobs, means that women have begun to farm on a small scales to feed their families and to contribute to their local economies.
In the UK where farming has a business has become increasing difficult, it is often the women that turn their hands to diversification in order to help farms make money. Using the produce from the farm in innovative ways such as jam making, cakes, cheese, yogurt, and farm shops is often done by women and can prove to be very successful.
Like men in farming, ladies that farm come in all shapes and sizes as do their farms and their produce. The diversity in farming in the UK and also around the world can only be a hugely positive movement that will increase the rights of women, their access to knowledge, raise confidence levels, give greater opportunities, be a huge employment resource.
The impact of the growth of women in the agricultural sector should not be underestimated, it must be celebrated.