I read a blog post awhile back that discussed how women in agriculture aren’t treated the same as men. She told a story of how she walked around a trade show and no one noticed her. She didn’t initiate conversation with any vendors unless they talk to her first. Therefore, no one tried to sell her anything or teach her about their services. And she was quite angry about it.
To be honest, I was quite angry at her.
A small part of me is angry because I have worked more trade shows than I can count and if you don’t make eye contact with me, smile or initiate any sort of conversation, then I immediately think you are just looking for the coozies, pens and t-shirts on my table.
But the large part of me was mad at her actions. No one has ever gotten where they want to be by standing still or staying quiet. You want the respect in any industry you have to demand it.
In her case, she wanted the same respect that the male farmers around her got. Many women in agriculture do.
But, I don’t.
I want the respect of a woman in agriculture.
I want the respect that doesn’t treat me like one of the guys. I want the respect that cuts back in the cussing in front of me. I want the respect that holds doors open for me and helps me load my feed.
I want the respect that the farmer’s mother taught him from day one. I want the respect that a woman in agriculture needs to demand.
That doesn’t mean I won’t drink whiskey at work parties and fit in with the rest of the men. It means that I will wait for them to open the door for me and call them out when their jokes offend me.
As a woman in agriculture, I can do anything. I can load just as much hay as a man, even though it may take me a little longer. I can fix a broken hydraulic line but it will probably need to be fixed again soon. I can fight off an angry cow with as much gusto and fearlessness as any man.
But as a woman, I can do more than the average farmer. I can buck bales all day and still find the energy to feed a hungry hay crew. I can go from caring for a newborn calf to holding a newborn human.
But most of all, I demand the respect I deserve. But I don’t demand it with words. I demand it with my actions, I demand it by asking questions and sharing my own knowledge. I demand it by being a successful woman in agriculture with dreams, goals and the will to survive.
I am a woman in agriculture. I am a FarmHER, not a farmer. What are you?