What kind of gender bias exists in Agriculture and what can be done to properly address the issue?  The USDA estimates that 70% of all farm operations in Idaho have at least one-woman operator, and 39% of fall farmers and ranchers across the state are female.  Meanwhile, nationally woman make up 36% of all farmers, and 55% of farms across the county have at least one-woman operator.  Despite this, Colette DePhelps, University of Idaho Extension educator said the nation’s Ag laws and programs, historically, have catered to men, based on a widely held stereotype that farmers are men.  She noted researchers recently compared the income of male owned farms and women's farms.


“The gender gap we're seeing on net farm income is 151% difference.  So, for every dollar a woman makes on a woman owned farm a man makes $2.50 on a male owned farm which means that farm operations are one of the most gender unequal occupations in the U.S.”


USDA classifies women farmers as a socially disadvantaged and underserved group.  DePhelps noted the issue is not just one of pay.  She said there have been structural issues and cultural issues when it comes to farming.


“You know women have had, historically, less access to land and resources.  And when we look at the data in the census that holds true so accounting for this gap in income when you take it down and summarize it these inequities are really based in holdings of land and buildings so about 40% of that income gap is a difference in holdings of land and buildings where men hold more land and more buildings and then looking at machinery and equipment is about another 40% again men having more machinery and equipment.”


DePhelps added a very small percent, about 6% of women reported having less farming experience.  What role did childcare play in the discrepancies in pay or property ownership?  Find out by listening to our entire conversation with DePhelps below:



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