Gender roles and equality: Where does the ag industry stand?

Editor's note: The following article was written by

Bonnie Johnson, a marketing associate for It was originally published in the

April issue of

PORK Network.

Men and women play many roles in the agricultural industry. To better analyze and understand those roles, AgCareers. com conducted the Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness survey last summer. Responses from more than 2,000 people were analyzed to reveal some positive as well as negative associations between gender and equality in agribusiness.

Look at the Facts
It appears the ag industry as a whole is on the right track, since both men and women thought agribusiness had a higher level of gender equality than the overall professional world. Still, 79% of women thought there was gender inequality in agribusiness, while 47% of men felt the same.

Men and women agreed the attitude toward working women in agribusiness has improved. More than 80% of both genders thought the attitude toward women working in agribusiness has changed for the better in the past 10 years.

Nearly 90% of women were optimistic about their opportunity for advancement in agriculture, much higher than they felt about their opportunities in a career outside of agriculture (only 56% were optimistic).

Women look for advancement opportunities and aspire to move up within the ranks of the companies for which they work. A significantly higher percentage of women than men hope to advance to a higher level position in the future. By contrast, a higher percentage of men were content in their current position.

There was little to no discrepancy between genders when looking at participants' willingness to relocate for career advancement.

Room for Improvement
Men felt more respected in the agricultural workplace than women in the survey. Half of the women said they had experienced blunt sexism or discrimination based on their gender in the workplace. More than 70% of women felt outnumbered by men in agribusiness.

Nearly half of women respondents thought they would be better compensated if they were male, whereas 73% of men felt gender did not play a role in compensation. If that is the perception, what is the reality?

Respondents indicated a disparity in pay between genders, with men typically earning more which is in line with national norms. A significantly higher percentage of men were earning $70,000-plus. In contrast, a significantly lower percentage of men were earning below $50,000.

There was also a difference between genders in terms of management and higher level roles within agricultural organizations. A higher percentage of men than women held a president/ CEO role, were directors or held management positions. Significantly more women worked as hourly and salaried staff, or served in student/trainee/intern roles.

Learn More
The Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness survey analysis shares details on the state of gender equality in the agricultural industry.

Additional information on the topics discussed previously, along with details on advocacy, work/life balance, benefits, relocation and more, can be found in the full survey report.