Kristine Penning, AgCareers.com
In 2015 AgCareers.com released our first Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness report. As these topics continue to be relevant in the working world, we partnered with Women in Agribusiness to conduct an updated survey in the fall and winter of 2019. More than 600 men and women working in agribusiness participated, sharing insight around gender equality in agribusiness, benefits, compensation, and more.
While many figures have remained the same over the past five years, this survey also reveals a few concerning changes. For instance, the majority of women felt that there is gender inequality in agribusiness (75%). Just 50% of men feel the same.
Some barriers to gender equality and advancement still exist in agriculture. Seventy-one percent of women felt confident about the opportunities to advance in agriculture in 2019, but this is 17% drop from those who responded similarly in 2015 (88%). Correlating to this figure, 68% of women expressed a desire to advance to a more prominent position one day. But most women (70%) felt that they would be given more advancement opportunities if they were male.
So how does this perception compare to reality? Data from the survey also shows a disparity between genders in terms of management and higher-level roles. There were significantly more male respondents holding a President/CEO role or management positions in agriculture than female respondents.
When asked about barriers related to advancing in agriculture, women reported doubt in ability, knowledge, and/or skills; being taken seriously; and a lack of support and/or validation from leadership as the three most popular answers.
While many of these figures are disappointing, more women than men (62%) reported that their employers had offered them special training opportunities or tuition reimbursement to advance and grow in their career and/or role. Just 47% of men reported receiving these same benefits or opportunities.
Unfortunately, more than half (61%) of women reported experiencing blunt sexism or discrimination based on their gender in the agricultural workplace. This figure has jumped more than 10% since 2015. Furthermore, 38% reported experiencing sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances while at work in agribusiness.
AgCareers.com also analyzed differences in experiences between women of color and white or Caucasian women employed in agribusiness. Sadly, women of color felt less confident about their ability to advance in agriculture (63%) and more confident about advancing in an industry outside of agriculture (70%). Women of color commonly reported “feeling isolated in the workplace” as a top barrier to working in agribusiness.
Want to get more details from the report? We will share more information in an upcoming newsletter article related to benefits, compensation, work/life balance, and more. Until then, you can download the full report by visiting AgCareers.com and click “Market Research” under Resources under either the Candidates or Employers tabs. Or view this highlights slideshow document.