Women in Agriculture research: progress report - 2020-2021

This report provides a progress update on research conducted as part of the Women in Agriculture (WIA) programme between 2020 and 2021. It presents overall findings, current work and outlines future research planned for 2021-2022.

Women in Agriculture Research - Highlights

This report provides a progress update on research conducted as part of the Women in Agriculture (WIA) programme between 2020 and 2021, and presents overall findings. The report also outlines current and future research planned for 2021-2022.

Research background

Research commissioned by Scottish Government in 2017 identified a range of issues that impact women in agriculture and limit their participation in the industry. The Women in Agriculture Taskforce published its Final Report in 2019, which outlined a series of recommendations in order to progress women's role within the industry.

Summary of findings

A range of research has been conducted between 2020 and 2021, including: research into the challenges of rural childcare and the needs of agricultural families, a review of an Unconscious Bias pilot and a consultation on the training needs of women in agriculture on islands. An evaluation of the 'Be Your Best Self' training pilot (2020-21) and research into women's leadership programmes are currently being carried out.

Research findings

Overall, the research points to a number of wider findings including:

  • positive changes for women in agriculture, including the success of training pilots in building women's skills, confidence and connections with each other
  • the benefits of these connections between women in agriculture, from practical advice and support to strengthening their identities and future plans
  • the impact of training pilots, such as participants feeling more optimistic about their future and wider discussions about unconscious bias and diversity
  • the childcare needs of agricultural families, and connections between challenges experienced by women in agriculture and wider rural issues
  • challenges for women in agriculture, from lack of confidence or progression in their jobs, to cultural attitudes that continue to impact their roles on family farms

Future research

During 2021-22, we plan to evaluate the impact of further WIA-funded training pilots, including 'Be Your Best Self' (2021-22) and 'Knowing your Business' (2022). We are also commissioning new research into evidence-based approaches to implementing equality commitments in organisations to inform our work within Scottish agriculture.


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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