Many female farmers demonstrate ‘masculine norms’ to try to feel accepted and welcomed in the farming community.
This is according to a recently published Irish study, ‘That’s Me I am the Farmer of the Land.’
The study predominately explores identities, masculinities and health among male farmers in Ireland, but many female farmers participated in the study.
However, lead author and Teagasc Walsh scholar Conor Hammersley noted: “The female farmers that we interviewed throughout the study demonstrated similar masculine norms."
One female farmer that Hammersley interviewed said: “I feel guilty if I take time out to go to the doctor or if I go to get my hair done - I feel like I should always be working."
Another woman farmer said that she loves reading and baking, but that she felt guilty if she took time to do those activities because it would take away time from farming.
Hammersley believes that these masculine norms and identities are demonstrated by women farmers to feel welcomed and accepted, in what is a predominately a male farming community.
Many farmers view seeking help as an ‘admission of failure’ and a betrayal of a masculine image of themselves and as farmers.
Hammersley said from the focus groups and interviews that he conducted, female farmers tend to lean toward this ‘masculine image’.
He said that one of the concluding findings of the original study is that there is massive work to be done in regards to the challenges that female farmers face and how they identify within the farming community.