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From our Chief Reporter: Abi Kay - 'Representation of women in agriculture on the increase'

With the She Who Dares Farms conference taking place at the virtual Royal Welsh Show this week, there has never been a better time to look at how far women in the sector have come.

Over the past few years, we have seen the meteoric rise of countless ladies in the food and farming industry.

 

The most obvious example, perhaps, is NFU president Minette Batters, who has reach way beyond some of her recent predecessors’ wildest dreams – securing slots on non-farming shows such as Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and even BBC Question Time.

 

But she has plenty of fellow women standing alongside her – in the retail sector, as public and private sector chief executives, in academia, NGOs and in my field: agricultural journalism.

 

At Farmers Guardian, our editorial team is 75 per cent female. And we are not alone.

 

Women are well represented at other farming media outlets too, both print and broadcast.

 

Looking at the roster of Farming Today presenters, you could be forgiven for thinking women really do run the ag journalism world.


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Speaking to colleagues in the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (BGAJ), it is clear this representation in the press is having an impact on farming coverage.

 

Some reporters say they naturally gravitate towards women of a similar age and actively push themselves to tell their stories.

 

Others told me they are encountering – and quoting – far more female vets, nutritionists, animal health experts, agronomists and seed merchants.

 

One contact even said female-run businesses are more interesting to write about, because they are often the ones challenging the ‘norms’ of farming and looking for new ways to do things.

 

It is clear this powerful combination of strong female role models and greater coverage of women’s success in the media is increasing confidence levels among ladies in the industry, and raising up a new generation of farming girls who are not afraid to chase their dreams.

 

There is still a long way to go to stamp out sexism in farming, but we are making great progress. Long may it continue.

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