New Initiative to Study Barriers to Women's Advancement in Agriculture


Announced at the Advancing Women in Agriculture event in Calgary earlier this month, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is launching a research project called Supporting the Advancement of Women in Agriculture (SAWA). The federally-funded study will examine and address critical barriers to advancement that women face in the agricultural industry.

“It’s going to be looking at how we can help advance women in leadership positions the agriculture sector,” explains Jennifer Wright, HR program advisor for CAHRC in the above video.

The project will involve a comprehensive assessment of the current situation facing women in agriculture. Using a gender lens, the assessment will explore the contribution of women to the industry, the barriers they experience, prioritize options for improvements, and assess the effectiveness of current services. This will inform the development of programs and resources to assist women in agriculture as well as agricultural employers, organizations and training institutions to strengthen access to leadership opportunities and business success for women working in agriculture.

As Wright explains, some of the expected programs and resources to come from this three-year initiative will include a Supporting Women in Agricultural Leadership Program that offers online resources, the creation of a Women in Agriculture professional network, and a suite of instructive reference materials for Boards and training institutions to improve the accessibility of opportunities for women.

“Through this project, organizations will have access to specific tools and reference materials to guide them in removing barriers while supporting women’s participation in senior leadership roles,” added Debra Hauer, SAWA Project Manager for CAHRC.  “Additionally, training and educational organizations will be given assistance to support increased enrolment and graduation rates of female students. Finally, women will have access to a one-stop, credible forum for reference material, information exchange, networking and opportunities to support their career success.

For more information on Supporting the Advancement of Women in Agriculture, contact CAHRC at


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