Women in Scottish farming 'downplayed' and 'unseen'

Female farmers and agricultural workers in Scotland are being excluded by 'outdated attitudes and behaviours', the report said
Female farmers and agricultural workers in Scotland are being excluded by 'outdated attitudes and behaviours', the report said

A 'fundamental cultural change' is needed to ensure that women in the Scottish farming industry are valued more, a new report has revealed.

Women’s contribution to the sector can be 'undervalued, downplayed, or simply unseen', it explained.

The findings are included in a Women in Agriculture Taskforce report which was commissioned by the Scottish government.

Taskforce co-chair Joyce Campbell said the the report has shone light into the 'very dark corners of Scottish agriculture.'



It makes several recommendations, including the need to create an environment that empowers women to take up leadership posts.

There should also be equal access to skills development opportunities to enable them to succeed and their businesses to flourish.



The industry has been urged to challenge existing cultural norms that view men as the heirs to agricultural businesses.

It also calls for an Equality Charter for farming that would be mainstreamed into all Scottish government agricultural and related policies.

Scotland's rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing, said it is 'neither acceptable nor business savvy' for the agricultural industry to be 'so male dominated'.

“Male-only structures and boards must be consigned to the past, as Scottish agriculture simply cannot afford to leave women behind.

“There are many women working in agriculture who have the ability, creativity and determination to drive the industry forward.

“Scottish agriculture must include and involve their talents more fully and equitably.”

Ms Campbell added that the report's findings should 'inspire' women in the industry.



She said: “Scottish agriculture cannot afford to be seen as the last bastion of sexism and outdated attitudes.

“We want an integrated, inclusive industry where everyone is welcome and valued and these recommendations will help to achieve that.”