Women in agriculture - leadership programme development: research

This report outlines the main findings of research conducted to inform the development of a leadership programme for women in agriculture, which will be funded by Scottish Government through the Women in Agriculture Development Programme.

2. Methods

This research was done in two stages: 1. an evidence review of women's leadership programmes and theory, and 2. interviews with women in mid-level and leadership positions in agriculture and other relevant sectors.

The first stage of the research comprised an evidence review of academic literature on leadership theory and women's leadership programmes, and current examples in the UK and elsewhere. The main findings are summarised in Chapter 3.

The second stage of the research involved a total of 6 interviews with women in mid-level and leadership positions in agriculture and other male-dominated sectors such as construction and transport.[1] Whilst participants were at different points in their career, the majority have at some stage taken part in leadership or career development programmes. The interviews focused on:

  • Their career journey, and any barriers or challenges they have faced.
  • Their experience and the perceived benefits of taking part in a leadership programme or other career development initiatives.
  • The skills, training and support networks that have helped them.
  • If relevant, their experiences as a woman in a leadership role in agriculture, and the culture and behaviour of agricultural boards and organisations.
  • Attitudes towards women's career progression and leadership.
  • Their views on the design of a leadership programme for women in Scottish agriculture.

The interviews lasted 30-40 minutes and were semi-structured with open questions. The interview topic guide and participant information sheet are available in Annex 1. Participants were recruited through Women in Agriculture networks or contacted following initial research into the leadership and boards of agricultural organisations in Scotland. The interviews were conducted by phone or online and recorded with participants' consent. The recordings were then transcribed, coded and analysed. Respondents were sent a copy of the transcript to review.

In addition to the evidence review, the interviews have provided an insight into the views and experiences of women in mid-level management and leadership roles within Scottish agriculture, including their career journeys and approaches to leadership. The main findings from the interviews are summarised in Chapter 4.


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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