To bring about a paradigm shift in any culture we need to change assumptions and attitudes. (Jean Shinoda Bolen)
Which of the following statements do you think are still seen as assumptions?
ð A farmer is the ‘man on the land’.
ð Women’s place is in the individual family business, not beyond it.
ð A woman’s role is preferably centred on the house and family.
ð Women have primary responsibility for care of children, the disabled and elderly.
ð It is the physical and technical aspects of farming which is the core business of our agricultural enterprises.
ð Young women lack expertise in agriculture.
ð Men know more about farming than women.
ð Women in general, lack competence or are not interested in technical matters.
ð Any woman worth her salt can overcome barriers without special help.
ð Sons are the natural successors to the farm business.
ð Men manage the family budget.
ð Daughters-in-law are potential enemies.
ð Both men and women prefer men to take the leadership role.
ð Women in decision-making positions have to become more masculine.
The term ‘grass ceiling’ was created a couple of decades ago, and continues to have a comfortable and established presence in many aspects of rural life.
Women and their male allies are however working hard to plough new tracks through these barriers and dispel many of the above assumptions.
Despite the discomfort that accompanies changing the status quo, research shows we must continue to acknowledge women’s critical roles within families and communities while engaging them in diverse workplace leadership positions and boardrooms.