This research comprised an evidence review and qualitative research to review current practice and inform recommendations for the development of a leadership programme for women in Scottish agriculture.
The Women in Agriculture Taskforce aims to ensure that women are better represented in Scottish agriculture and progress to more senior roles in sector bodies. This research was carried out to inform the development of a leadership programme for women in agriculture, as recommended in the Women in Agriculture Taskforce's final report (2019). This programme will be delivered through the Women in Agriculture Development Programme (WiADP), and will lead to a cohort of women ready to take up leadership roles in Scottish agriculture.
This study included an evidence review and qualitative research. The evidence review focused on leadership programmes, current practice and wider literature on women's leadership and theory. This also produced a list of case studies of leadership courses in the UK, including in Scotland, and international examples from Ghana, Honduras, Nepal, New Zealand and the US. The qualitative research involved a total of 6 interviews with women in mid-level and leadership positions in agriculture or relevant sectors such as construction and transport. The interviews focused on their career journeys, their views on leadership, and the training or support that has helped them in their careers.
- Leadership programmes, and other personal development initiatives, can act as a stepping stone to board or leadership roles within agricultural organisations.
- Programmes like this can be key to building women's confidence, practical skills and support networks within the industry and more widely.
- Women in leadership roles are more likely to take a collaborative approach, and participants saw confidence, listening and resilience as key skills.
- Participants spoke about the challenges of gaining respect and proving themselves both as women in agriculture and women in leadership roles.
- Support from other men and women in farming, in addition to family, friends and organisation members, can be key to women's career success.
- A leadership programme for women in agriculture should include sessions focusing on practical and business skills to develop women's confidence, help them to explore their goals and leadership approach, and build their support networks.
The findings in this report will inform the training programmes and how best to promote leadership amidst other sessions focusing on practical and business skills for women in Scottish agriculture as part of the Women in Agriculture programme.
A summary of the evidence-based recommendations for the content of a Women in Agriculture leadership programme is included in Table 1.
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