Fast Facts

Women have a significant contribution to make to Canada's $108-billion agri-food sector, but they are underrepresented at the leadership level. This has a negative impact on the sector's profitability and women's ability to achieve their full potential[1].

  • Agricultural workforce: 30% female, 70% male
  • Agricultural managers: 25% female, 75% male
  • Agricultural business owners[2]: 29% female, 71% male
  • National and provincial association chairs and presidents: 12% female, 88% male

Fewer women reach the leadership level, yet more women have participated in post-secondary education and leadership programs.

  • Participation in managerial training: 34.6% female, 32.9% male
  • Participation in Advancement in Agricultural Leadership Program[3]: 61.5% female, 38.5% male
  • Participation in 4-H programs[4]: 60% female, 40% male
  • Ag business managers/owners with university degrees: 65% female, 46% male

"There are barriers preventing women from advancing in agriculture."

  • 41% of women agree
  • 12% of men agree

What are the top barriers for women in agriculture?

  • Balancing career and family: 16%
  • Old boys' club: 16%
  • Lack of role models: 13%

All three of these barriers have been witnessed or experienced by:

  • 97% of women
  • 3% of men

Other top barriers include:

  • Lack of access to training
  • Being denied the opportunity
  • Facing double standards
  • Lack of mentoring opportunities
  • Lack of confidence to pursue more

How can the agriculture sector support women's advancement to leadership roles?

  • Providing self-directed career development options
  • Creating an inclusive envrionment
  • Building awareness of potential career paths

100% of women cited networking as a key success factor.

Top 2 workplace policy priorities[5]:

  • Create policies that help women balance career and family responsibilities. Women devote twice as much time to childcare as men.[6]
  • Support equal pay for men and women who do the same job. Women are paid 25% less than their male counterparts.[7]

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all numbers are taken from the 2015 SAWA survey of 532 male and female owners, operators, and workers in agriculture.

[2] Source: Census of Agriculture. According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture, there were a total of 77,970 (28.7%) females who had an ownership stake in an agricultural business.

[3] Source: Rural Institute of Ontario

[4] Source: 4-H Canada Annual Reports, 2008 to 2015.

[5] Based on four regional focus groups with a total of 47 participants and 28 one-on-one interviews.

[6] Source: Statistics Canada. According to 2010 data, women spend more than twice the time that men do on unpaid child care.

[7] Source: Statistics Canada. According to 2012 data, women earn only 75% of men's earnings.