Female Inclusion and Gendered Equality in the Southern Great Plains Agriculture

Authors: Fernanda Ramirez Saenz*, Oklahoma State University, Jacqueline M. Vadjunec, Associate professor in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University, Todd Fagin, Oklahoma Biological Survey
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Gender, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Female Agriculturalists, Inclusion, Gender Equality, Extension Programs
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The face of agriculture in the United States has become more diverse over the last three decades, specifically since female agriculturalists have gained a significant strength in the field, both in labor and at the front of operations. The 2012 agricultural census shows that in the United States, 13.7% of the operations are headed by a woman. In our study area, Las Animas, CO; Union County, NM; and Cimarron County, OK, female farmers and ranchers are in charge of nearly 15% of the agricultural operations (USDA 2012). This study has three objectives; first, to understand the growth of female participation in agriculture over time by county. For this, we build a time-series analysis using USDA Agricultural Census data from 1982-2012. The second objective is to know the level of inclusion/exclusion for women operators in their agricultural communities; and lastly, to identify the differences between services provided to women across space, looking at the county level. In order to do so, we analyze people's perceptions about community interactions, and gendered participation in extension and government programs using preliminary data collected from surveys, and participant observation. We argue that increased diversity in agriculture does not necessarily translate into more spaces for women in the agricultural community, nor higher participation in extension services and government programs. We conclude that in order to promote equal access to female agriculturalists to services and resources in their communities, extension offices, and government agencies should promote a cohesive environment to build a better agricultural community network.

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