Gender roles and equality continue to be important topics of discussion in the working world. As a follow-up to AgCareers.com’s 2015 Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness survey, we partnered with Women in Agribusiness to conduct a refreshed survey in the fall of 2019. Questions examined topics such as compensation, benefits, work/life balance, equality and advocacy. Analysis of results identifies similarities and discrepancies between genders. Responses were collected in an online poll format, with 624 people responding.
Equality & Advancement
While women are certainly integral to agriculture and have made their presence known, some barriers to equality and advancement still exist within the industry. The majority of women felt that there was gender inequality in agriculture (75%), while only 50% of men felt there was gender inequality. In an encouraging note for agribusiness, both men and women felt that there was less gender inequality in agribusiness than in the overall professional world. Interestingly, these figures have improved slightly since our 2015 survey was conducted.
Unfortunately, more than half of women (61%) said they had experienced blunt sexism or discrimination at work based on their gender. This figure has jumped more than 10% from the 2015 survey.
A concerning change from the 2015 survey shows that women feel less confident about their ability to advance in the agricultural industry now. Seventy-one percent of women felt confident about opportunities for advancement in agriculture in 2019. This is a 17% drop from the number of women that responded in agreement in 2015 (88%). However, women still felt more confident about their ability to advance in agriculture versus an outside industry.
Compensation & Benefits
Survey results indicated a slight disparity in pay between genders, with men typically earning more than women in agribusiness. According to findings, women’s pay rates began to drop off at $70,000 while men’s spiked at that level, declined, and then spiked again at the $150,000+ level.
Male and female participants were asked which benefits they most valued. Health insurance, 401 K Retirement/RRSP, and flexible hours were the top three choices for both. Men selected a company vehicle and regular recognition as their fourth and fifth most valued benefits, respectively, while women selected bonuses and maternity leave.
Participants were asked questions around work/life balance. When asked about the stressors of being a working parent, 77% of women with children felt that being a working parent had sometimes made it difficult to advance or commit to their career, while only 51% of men agreed with that statement.
Participants were asked to specify their level of agreement with a series of statements regarding women in agriculture. When asked, just 31% of women felt they were sufficiently represented in agriculture. In contrast, 56% of men felt women were sufficiently represented in the industry.
On a positive note, 90% or greater of both genders felt that the attitude toward women working in agribusiness has changed for the better.
In 2015, we received feedback from women who were solely ag producers, or producers in addition to their career in agribusiness that felt the core questions did not apply to their professional experience. AgCareers.com added a “Production Agriculture” section to shed light on the experience of the female agricultural producer.
Nearly 30% of women producers stated that they were the sole owner and/or primary stakeholder of the farming/ranching/production operation they work for. For those who were not, a non-relative was the most common answer for the owner/primary stakeholder of the operation they worked for (44%).
Approximately 42% of female producers stated that they are landowners; when asked how much, most answered that they own less than 250 acres of land (74%). More than half (57%) had at least a stake or partial ownership in the farming/ranching/production operations where they work.
Most women that did not own land hoped to one day or own a stake or share in a production operation. Just 23% stated that they have no aspirations to own land or a stake in a production operation at any point in the future.
For more information on aspirations for advancement, salary, barriers, and more for women in agriculture, download the full AgCareers.com Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness Survey Results & Analysis at www.AgCareers.com under “Market Research”. You can also view a highlights document with key findings from the survey here.