January 17, 2023 By Top Crop Manager
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has launched the Engaging and Advancing Women in Agriculture (EAWA) project. The project is funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriDiversity Program. Further project support is provided by the Chicken Farmers of Canada and the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture (PEIFA).
The CFA says despite continued progress, in many respects, women are underrepresented in the Canadian agriculture sector and their contributions often go unrecognized. Women face both systemic and attitudinal barriers to entering the industry and securing leadership positions. This constrains the sector’s capacity, resiliency and innovation; creates challenges in attracting and retaining women; and negatively affects the sector’s public image.
“The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is committed to supporting greater diversity in the agricultural sector and we are excited to have the opportunity to lead the Engaging and Advancing Women in Agriculture project, which will both celebrate the women leaders in our sector and help to reduce the systemic barriers women are face in getting involved in the sector,” says Mary Robinson, president of the CFA. “Any person with an interest in a career in agriculture should be welcomed and encouraged to contribute to this industry. It’s time to level the field.”
This project, led by the CFA, leverages previous work done by PEIFA and Karolyn Godfrey of Winding Path Inc. with support from the Government of PEI. This earlier work developed, in consultation with a working group of female agricultural leaders, a strategic plan which focused on the implementation of policies and programs to address barriers to women’s full participation in the sector. The EAWA project is taking a systemic approach to pilot implementing this strategic plan in PEI with the aim of facilitating the adoption of similar approaches by other producer associations across Canada.
The project will develop, pilot and document a framework through which producer associations can systemically address the underrepresentation of women in Canadian agriculture, support women in the sector to develop skills to take on greater leadership roles and raise awareness of the benefits of women’s full participation, barriers women experience, all while addressing those barriers.