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Not So Silent Partners

As recently as 1994 in Australia, women couldn't list "farmer" as their occupation. This gendered perspective on farming continues to impact women's rights to land.

Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

We talk about the fact that terms such as “farmer” are often interpreted as male quite often in our work. Even though women play a significant role in farming, they often aren’t considered equal or valuable partners and this assumption of maleness has negative repercussions for women who are farmers.

In this recent piece by The Guardian, Lucie Newsome explores this issue, and how it’s showing up in Australia:

"Historical and cultural constructions of what it is to be a farmer continue to shape women’s access to farming resources. These includes land, credit, training and farming legitimacy in how they are perceived by their families, communities and the government."

Rights to land play a part in this discrimination — in Australia women inherit only around 10% of farm land and women farmers typically access farm land through a male relative, though around 47% of farmers are women.

We see this in our work on women’s rights to agricultural land globally, and this is an example of how it plays out in Australia.

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