Women in Agriculture Development Programme: equality impact assessment

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) for the Women in Agriculture Development Programme (WiADP).

Stage 1: Framing

Results of framing exercise

Percentage of farmers who are women in Scotland

Including crofts and smallholdings:

  • 14 % of full-time and part-time working farm occupiers (principal farmer) are female
  • 83 % of full-time and part-time working spouses are women
  • 42 % of all full-time and part-time working occupiers and spouses (i.e. those with an current involvement) are women

Excluding crofts and smallholdings

  • Only 7% of working farm occupiers (principal farmer) are women
  • 91% of farm spouses are women
  • 50 % of all full-time and part-time working occupiers and spouses (i.e. those with a current involvement) are women

Percentage of women tenant farmers

  • 41% of tenanted farm occupiers and spouses are women
  • 7% of tenanted farms are run by solely women occupiers
  • 41% of wholly-tenanted farms occupiers and spouses are women
  • 9% of wholly-tenanted farms are run solely by occupiers who are women

Percentage of crofts held by women

  • 14% of holdings with a croft are run solely by a woman
  • 66% of holdings with a croft have a woman occupier or spouse

Percentage of tenanted crofts held by women

  • 14% of holdings with a tenanted croft are run solely by a woman
  • 64% of holdings with a tenanted croft on them have a working occupier or spouse who is a woman

Improving opportunities also contributes to a more sustainable rural economy in an uncertain future. Rural areas currently account for 27% of Scotland's economy, so improving economic performance in rural Scotland could make a significant contribution to Scotland's overall economic performance.

Report 'Understanding the Scottish Rural Economy'[3] (2018) revealed that:

  • in 2016, women in remote rural areas had the lowest annual median pay across Scotland
  • the largest gap between men and women in terms of annual median wages (in absolute terms) was in remote rural areas
  • Remote rural areas were found to have a gender pay gap of 17%.

Further quantitative and qualitative data was provided on gender inequality in agriculture in the research commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2017: https://www.gov.scot/publications/women-farming-agriculture-sector/.

The key findings of this research were that:

  • Women play a major role in Scottish agriculture, participating in the full range of farming activities
  • The cultural practice of passing on large farms intact to one son is the single biggest barrier to women's entry into agriculture
  • Women are very under-represented amongst the elected leadership of national-level farming organisations
  • Lack of time is a major barrier to advancing women's roles on-farm and in farming organisations, and to accessing training
  • There is a clear need for more access to, and uptake of, vocational, practical training for women entering agriculture, across a range of topics.
  • Women in family businesses outside of agriculture face far fewer barriers to business involvement and leadership
  • Some respondents reported exclusionary practices that take place in farming organisations.

There is clear quantitative and qualitative evidence of gender inequality across the sector, which this policy will help to address.

Currently the only data available on protected characteristics of those working in agriculture, is on sex and age. However, this EQIA will consider the wider data available on the intersection of other protected characteristics with sex.

We should therefore examine the range of data that is available as it relates to women with one or more of the protected characteristics. Furthermore we should work with colleagues in RESAS to ensure that data is collected on the other protected characteristics within the agricultural industry.

Extent/Level of EQIA required

Following the initial consideration of evidence in stage 1, it is clear that this policy has the potential for significant impact upon equality within the agricultural industry. It directly addresses issues around protected characteristics including most particularly sex, age, and pregnancy / maternity. There are also considerations around gender reassignment (as the training is a programme aimed at women), and other characteristics which closely intersect with sex.

It is clear that a more in depth EQIA is required, to ensure that we have paid due regard to all aspects of the Equality Duty in eliminating discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and fostering good relations.


Email: sara.thorpe@gov.scot

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