The Wider Context • The work carried out by women and men in the community is essential for holding the community together and ensuring its viability. • The continuation of such support is needed for agriculture because strong communities have been identified as important to maintaining sustainable agriculture.
Women and the Media • Advertising and the media play a role in forming women’s views of themselves and in reinforcing the world, or stereotypical, view. • Issues of Straight Furrow and NZ Farmer were examined between 1990 and 1993 and both had limited coverage of women. This is surprising given the work women do in the farm business and the proportion of farms with female owners. • The low and limited representation of women in the media is not helping women establish themselves as members of the rural economic community in their own right.
Rural Service Industry and Women • The majority of rural service industry people have outdated perceptions of the roles of farming women. Business people, on the whole, need to change their style and attitude towards rural women.
Women in Paid Employment • Rural people are involved in a great range of economic activities. Land is used for diverse purposes. • Farm women are now recognising themselves more as individuals in their own right, rather than as farmers’ wives. • The female proportion of the rural workforce has risen from 28% in 1976 to 40% in 1991. • Of the 44,600 farms with one or more working owners, 50% have at least one female working owner (1994 Ag census data).
Women as Decision-makers • Despite their involvement in the agriculture sector, women are poorly represented on agricultural industry governing bodies. • Women need to be represented on decision-making bodies at both community and national levels because they bring new perspectives, experiences and insights to these bodies. • They are well under-represented at present.