Today Agriculture, like most industries, is overwhelmingly male dominated. According to a Forbes article, “over 88% of primary farm operators are men” with “61% of US farmland is owner-operated, and 90% of those owner-operators” being men. While a bulk of today’s agriculture business is led by men, things seem to be changing soon. For the first time, women have surpassed men in obtaining Biology and Agricultural Sciences degrees at 51%. In addition, when taking into account a global agriculture makeup, “women make up over 50% of the agricultural workforce in developing countries.”
This is big news for a world that continually needs agricultural professionals to ensure the healthy food distribution across the globe. While industry changing, sectors such as venture capital, may make it hard for agriculture to keep pass with its current changing environment. “Anyone following the agtech space right now will understand that crop and animal breeding is going to be incredibly disruptive over the next decade or two.” Unfortunately, there may not be a large amount of organizations that can take advantage of this opportunity when venture capital does not have a good record of investing in female led businesses.
Only 9% of decision makers in VC are women, and, consequently, only 15% of VC funding goes to teams with at least 1 female founder.
This is a double edge sword as farmers and agriculture experts are necessary in connecting with technology experts to build usefully solutions in the field. As Forbes puts it, “compiling the inequities in venture capital, high-growth tech companies, agribusiness, and agriculture production results in a complicated and somewhat discouraging set of social, economic and political factors.”
While there may not be any immediate good news there is still time to rectify the situation. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a key component of equality is still very much obtainable but we as a globe need to make sure that we are supporting a growing population. “If women are empowered, not only will the gender gap narrow, but yields in developing countries will increase by 2.5% to 4%.”