Women are pushing for a bigger stake in agriculture, an industry they have had a huge hand in building.

One of the big topics of discussion at the Advancing Women Conference in Calgary recently was how women can realize their dreams, seize the opportunity and clear the hurdles that exist between them and their goals in agriculture.

BIXSco Senior Vice President Deborah Wilson tells Rural Roots Canada she was recently told about some troubling stats by a friend.

“She said she was doing some statistics on women in leadership roles in the animal pharmaceutical industry and out of 100 companies, five of those companies are run by women so we’re looking at a five per cent leadership role considering the number of women that are at this conference and the number of women who are heavily invested in the ag industry I think the ratio in management roles is not where it needs to be at all,” said Wilson.

Independent consultant Annemarie Pedersen says the role of women in agriculture is underplayed for the most part.

“If you go to any farm you are going to find it is a pretty fair partnership between husbands and wives on farm work but I think what we are seeing now is a lot more young women who are interested in getting involved in boards and the sort of over-arching what’s happening in agriculture and how they can make a difference or change the status quo. So I think we are seeing a lot more women get involved and having board positions and so that is exciting because they have a stake, they have a 50 per cent stake in whatever we do in agriculture when they go back to the farm.  So it’s great to see them involved in a higher level,” said Pedersen.

Bayer CropScience’s Kate Sanford Mitchell says there needs to be more encouragement.

One of the things that I think women need to advance into and one of the ways they need to develop is to be not be afraid to apply and strive and look for roles that expand their talents and what they can bring to the industry and that doesn’t matter if you choose to still work on the farm or outside in the industry, being the best they can is what they are going to bring and what the industry needs to advance to with these women.”

For more information and to register for the Advancing Women Conference East click here.