Women in Agriculture

Image showing a women in agriculture driving a tractor

Our vision is for Scottish agriculture to become a fairer, more inclusive industry, where farm succession is not determined by gender, training is accessible to everyone, and more women take on senior roles in agricultural organisations.

By ensuring equality of opportunity and that we use everyone’s talents, we will help to make Scottish agriculture a more resilient and economically sustainable industry.

Are you a woman living or working in Scottish agriculture? Maybe you see yourself as ‘just a farmer’s wife’; perhaps you’re a partner in a large farming business; maybe you own a croft or smallholding; or you might work for an agricultural organisation?

Whatever your role or connection to Scottish agriculture, there are training courses and networks available to you. We want to help you develop your talents, pursue your business goals and achieve your full potential.

We know that women have always been an integral part of Scottish agriculture. The industry could not survive without the contributions of women; whether working on farms, crofts and small holdings, supporting their families, or being involved in the wider rural economy.

However, research on the farming sector (2017) showed that women’s work can often be undervalued, downplayed, or simply unseen. We want to change that.

We believe that Scotland’s rural economy will be even stronger when women are enabled to fulfil their potential and have equality of opportunity within Scottish agriculture.

Scottish Government has committed £300,000 per year, for three years, to support women by implementing the recommendations of the Women in Agriculture Taskforce. The recommendations, contained in the Final Report of the Women in Agriculture Taskforce, are a series of practical actions to bring about cultural change within the agricultural industry. We are taking positive action to level the playing field for women in agriculture.

Our Women in Agriculture Development Programme is a series of training courses, designed to support you by building your confidence, enhancing your skills, and developing your leadership abilities.

BE YOUR BEST SELF – RE-STARTING ONLINE

Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the approach set out in Scotland’s Strategic Framework for COVID-19, we are progressing the Be Your Best Self training pilot online. This will enable the training to take place safely without any risk to public health and ensure that we continue to deliver support and training for women in Scottish agriculture. The first online workshop will take place in January 2021, with subsequent workshops currently planned to take place in February and June 2021.

We are working closely with the trainer – Sheila Campbell Lloyd of Inner Works Coaching – to ensure that the elements that made the first workshop so successful and the essential content of the course will be retained.

We are aware that for some women, the online format and delivery may present difficulties. We would like to assure you that we aim to make our training as accessible as possible and in the future, courses will be delivered both online and in-person (when face to face training can safely resume).

Those who have already applied for this training pilot and are on the waiting list, will be contacted and offered a place in order of when we received their application. As there are now no geographical or location considerations pertaining to the training, places will be offered to new applicants on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any queries please contact Sara Thorpe or Helen Mooney by e-mailing womeninagriculture@gov.scot

  • Are you a woman living or working in Scottish agriculture?
  • Do you feel like you need to re-focus on your life goals?
  • Do you want to build your confidence and discover the true value of your skills and strengths?
  • Are you looking for new opportunities and possibilities?
  • Would you like to connect with other women in Scottish agriculture?
Apply now for one of our Be Your Best Self courses: personal development training for women in agriculture.

Course attendees have said that Be Your Best Self: ‘is life-affirming’; ‘ has given me a renewed sense of vigour and hope for the future’; ‘is a completely new way forwards, finding yourself and coming home’.

Following on from Be Your Best Self, there will also be courses in business skills and in leadership development for women in agriculture. These have been delayed due to COVID-19, but we hope that planning will resume shortly.

The Farm Advisory Service is also running knowledge transfer events for women in agriculture. Find out what’s on and sign up here.

Our privacy notice explains what we do with your data if you apply for any training courses.

Read our privacy notice in full.

  • Animal Health Officer, Hazel Mackenzie blogs about the Be Your Best Self course and learning that it's okay to demonstrate your vulnerabilities and how it is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • Crofter Shona Grant-Mackintosh blogs about her experience of attending the Be Your Best Self course.

Women in Agriculture Scotland - a group recognising the contribution of women working in land-based industries. They provide access to mentoring, networking and development opportunities.

Women in Scottish Aquaculture – a new working group which aims to introduce more women into aquaculture and support those already working in the sector.

Dumfries and Galloway Dairy Women Network

Women in Enterprise

Women's Business Centre

Women in Agriculture discussion groups run by the Farm Advisory Service

Ladies Who Lamb UK - A private group that you can join, for women who either own sheep or who have seasonal jobs as lambing assistants and/or night lambers.