From farmers to boss ladies, a panel of women in agriculture confronted barriers to gender equality in the industry during a recent roundtable at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Globally, 43% of the agricultural labor force is comprised of women, yet women make up less than 20% of the world's landholders, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Whether it be owning land or accessing agricultural financing, women across the world face barrier after barrier when it comes to production agriculture. These challenges and more were recently unpacked at “From Farmer to Boss Lady: Developing a Gender-Equitable Agricultural Sector.” The women in ag roundtable event was hosted February 21, 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai after a year-long postponement due to the pandemic.
U.S. soybean farmer Jamie Beyer of Minnesota joined four other women in agriculture from across the globe on the panel. Afterward she said that her front seat view of the challenges faced by other women worldwide brought U.S. Soy’s dedication to gender equality and equal opportunity to light.
“I was very taken aback by the conditions for women farmers in other countries,” Beyer said. “In the U.S., we take so much for granted. We’re part of our commodity groups, we’re part of our farm organizations and viewed as fellow farmers.”
Even the way household finances are considered includes women.
“My credit score is included with my husband’s to determine our interest rate for an operating loan,” she shared. “In other countries, women don’t have access to land or capital whatsoever. There was a huge jump between agricultural worlds, and the same was true with opportunities for women.”
What Can U.S. Soy Do?
Leading by example is at the forefront of the U.S. soybean industry’s fight for gender equality in agriculture worldwide. Whether it’s giving women a seat at the table in organizations or in leadership roles, inviting them to trainings across the globe or allowing women farmers and grower leaders to share their stories, U.S. Soy sets an example and empowers other countries and industries to do the same.
During the roundtable, Beyer advised that women lead with confidence in themselves and their capabilities while the fight for equality in policies and initiatives continues.
“My goal is to get more women into the boardroom,” she said. “As women in agriculture, we sell ourselves short in terms of our skills and knowledge. It was great to be discussing these issues at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion, but I hope in a few years we will have it at the People’s Pavilion.”
Learn more about the roundtable at https://www.expo2020dubai.com.
- Partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain