For 150 years, women have been making valuable contributions to Canada’s agricultural industry – and Iris Meck, host of the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference (AWC), is encouraging Canadians to celebrate farm women by sharing photos and stories on social media, using the hashtag #Canada150FarmWomen.
“The whole reason behind the AWC is to honour the contributions women make to our agricultural sector, and now we are opening it up for other women to participate with their own pictures and stories about the amazing farm women that they know and love,” Meck said.
The AWC was held in Calgary on March 6 and 7 and was the sixth conference in Meck’s ongoing series to help women in the agricultural industry build life skills for leadership. More than 460 attended the conference, which Meck said shows how important agriculture is for women in this part of the country.
“This isn’t something that’s just come about recently, women have been contributing to Canada’s agricultural industry for many years – whether that means taking roles in corporate agri-business, working as operators on farming enterprises, looking after the bills and ordering products or even just cooking meals to help feed farmhands,” Meck said. “They’ve played an important role in making this farming community sustainable and successful and they deserve to be recognized.”
According to the most recent Canadian census data from 2011, women make up more than one third of Canada’s farm operators – providing the “backbone” of the Canadian farm families that have been important economic and social contributors to the rural communities across the country, Meck said.
“We make different kinds of decisions than men do and we use different thinking processes,” Meck said. “As women are traditionally the major consumers in the household, our thoughts are more in line with that potential customer base – and these different outlooks and perspectives do nothing but increase the value to the industry as a whole, as well as all the facets that make up the agriculture industry.”
Posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #Canada150FarmWomen, or e-mailed contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org, will start a discussion about the important roles women have played in Canada’s agricultural past – and hopefully, Meck added, will inspire young women to look at what kinds of contributions they can make in the future.
“It’s a chance for women who might be studying in these fields now to meet some of the other women working in various areas of agriculture and to help them take that great first step into the workforce to see what capacity they can fill in the industry,” Meck said. “It really rounds out the conversation – and women have a lot to contribute.”
The project will run until December 30, 2017. To find links to AWC’s social media accounts, visit advancingwomenconference.ca.