Rural women's work 'underappreciated,' says Sask. farmer

1 / 3
Rural women's work 'underappreciated,' says Sask. farmer

Growing up on their family's farm south of Regina, Mary-Jane Eger and Katelyn Duncan never thought about what a woman's role on the farm was.

"I think from a young age, we weren't put into a box of what we should and shouldn't be doing," Duncan said.

"I think we were seen as a worker — a butt in the seat in the combine — so I think having that open mind and opportunity to fill that role on our farming operation really gave us a lot of confidence."

-

'Where's your husband?': Women in farming still fighting against old boys' club 

March has once again been proclaimed Rural Women's Month in Saskatchewan as a way to recognize the contribution of women to their communities and the agriculture industry.

According to a 2016 release from the province, one in four farm operators in the province is a woman; one in 10 of those is a sole proprietor.

"I think there actually are quite a few women who work in agriculture but maybe the perception is that it's a more male-dominated industry," Egar said. "And women have been working in agriculture for a very long time."

​Egar added, though, that women often do more behind-the-scenes work in agriculture. That can include tasks around the home, like making supper for the workers or raising children, or outdoor work, like combining and trucking.

"I honestly think it's underappreciated," Eger said.

Both sisters agreed that the term 'rural woman' is vague.

"The term itself, I think it doesn't necessarily reflect modern agriculture very well," Duncan said, explaining that while many women work in the agriculture industry, they may live in what's considered to be an urban region.

No matter what it's called, both women agreed that working in farming gives them a lot of opportunities, not only from a business standpoint, but also to be able to work with family.

"It's a great way of life. It's a great industry to work in. It's a lot of amazing people who work in this industry, who are passionate about what they do," Duncan said.