Agricultural industry reflects on women’s contributions in light of the International Day of Rural Women
Across the world, people in the agricultural industry celebrated the International Day of Rural Women on Oct. 15.
Women in Ag, an organization based in Saskatchewan that empowers, supports and connects women in the ag community, was one of the groups that marked the event.
Farms.com chatted with Shayla Hertz, a director with Women in Ag and the mentorship co-ordinator. She is also the Think Ag manager with Agriculture in the Classroom Canada.
Rural women are one of the backbones of their communities and should be celebrated, said Hertz.
“They're very often involved in the community in a variety of ways, whether that's being on different boards, or being involved in the rink, the church or the school,” she told Farms.com.
Women in rural communities and in agriculture have changed and adapted their roles over the years. Advances in technology have helped to support career moves, said Hertz.
“Women are able to work from their homes. There are a lot more job opportunities for rural women and they can hold a variety of leadership positions as well … no matter where they live,” she said.
This ability to change and adapt goes hand in hand with this year’s theme of rural women and girls building resilience, and the ability to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone is being very innovative with COVID-19. It's really inspiring to see that people want to have a positive perspective even though it's a very tough situation we've all been faced with,” said Hertz. “People are genuinely interested in making sure they can continually inspire other women and achieve the goals they've set out.”
Rural women and women in ag have continued to work together to find solutions to hurdles, said Hertz.
Rural women “have a never-give-up attitude. Even in schools and at rinks, everyone is very active on their local boards trying to figure out how to remain within, and be respective of, the provincial regulations, while also making sure that we are staying connected as a full human race in our communities and nationally and globally,” she said.
Having a good support system and connections will go a long way during the pandemic and into the future, said Hertz.
“Connection goes a long way. Making sure that you have that support network in place for yourself and for the strength of your community is so key to be able to lean on one another, pandemic or not. We all have a lot of strength and diversity in terms of perspectives, experience and skills,” said Hertz.