2020 Update on Gender Roles & Equality in Agriculture


Gender roles and equality continue to be critical topics of discussion in the workplace. As a follow-up to AgCareers.com’s 2015 Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness survey, AgCareers.com 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.

Equality & Advancement
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 the 2015 survey.

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 over 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 dropped off at $70,000 while men’s spiked at that level, declined, and then spiked again at the $150,000+ level.

We asked male and female participants 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.

The survey 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.

We also asked participants 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.

Production Agriculture
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.

Written by Bonnie Johnson, AgCareers.com

Bonnie Johnson has more than twenty years of professional marketing experience, including nine years with AgCareers.com. As a marketing specialist, she supports the AgCareers.com team and brand through marketing and communications efforts. This includes internal and external communications, email marketing, company branding, market research, and data analysis.


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” or email agcareers@agcareers.com.


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