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Andermo, Stella, 2010. Vem är det som kör egentligen? : maskinanvändande och könsroller inom lantbruket : en intervjustudie med kvinnliga lantbrukare . Second cycle, A1N, A1F or AXX ( AXX). Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



In this report female farmers use of technical equipment is investigated. There is little research made on this subject in Sweden, therefore this report can be seen as an explorative study. Research makes it clear that machinery, throughout history and even today, has been seen as a male area. Heavy machines are often associated with the same attributes as masculinity. Force, power, efficiency and control are some examples. In farming the division of labour has been rather strictly separated between the sexes. Doing work in the fields, where the horse has been substituted by the tractor as being the most important source of force, has been male work, while domestic work, milking, animal raising and other forms of farmyard work have been female tasks. With respect to the changes that have influenced agriculture, as well as the whole society in general during the last decades, it is reasonable to believe that women’s role in agriculture also has changed.

The study contains interviews with fourteen female farmers in central Sweden. The interviews have been made in order to receive knowledge about female farmers’ situation. The focus of the study has been the use of farm machinery. Five research questions have been the basis for the interviews and the analysis. The five areas of research are: incitements for women to become farmers, patterns in the use of machinery, information transfer, gender based norms around machinery use that could act as an informal barrier for women to take an active role in machinery based work, and whether the women wish to take a more active role in the machinery based work on their farms than they do today. The study has been made using qualitative methods where an interviewee is seen as someone carrying social patterns of interest. The aim is to try to see a question from different perspectives and to find causal relationships rather than produce data that could be quantified.

The results show that an interest for machinery seldom is an incitement for women to become farmers. Reasons could rather be the relatively free life as a farmer, the possibility to work with animals or close to the nature and the variation in the work. Some of the interviewees have inherited their family farm, which is something that they comment is unusual for a woman. The majority of the interviewees can handle most of the machinery, but the husband usually has the main responsibility for this part of the work. The women often take part in the machinery based work during intense periods, such as hay harvest. Reparations are in general the husband´s responsibility. There is a difference between women running their farm together with their husband, and those running their farm alone. The latter are all active machinery users, and do a big part of the reparations themselves, and also appreciate this work. The reason for the division of labour between the sexes is said to be the difference in interest, or "gift", for handling machinery, which is something that many of the interviewees say they lack, in comparison with their husband.

The machines are said, by some if the interviewees, to be limited in their design, in a way that makes it obvious, that they are not made for womens’ bodies. Long legs and arms, as well as being heavy, is sometimes necessary for handling heavy machinery in the most effective way. The interviewees have learnt about machinery either from their husbands, through formal education, or during childhood. The father is often said to be an important role model and teacher for those who became interested as children. The interviewees have received comments about being a woman and handling heavy equipment, either from their husbands or from people outside the enterprise. For the majority it has not been a problem - in general the interviewees seem to have been met with respect. The husband´s attitude and how he acts to engage the interviewee in the company seems to be an important factor for whether being a woman in a male dominated area is seen by interviewee as negative or not. The interviewees are generally satisfied with their current level of knowledge and wish no greater changes of their situation. Many are positive toward the concept of having courses for women in machine use, even if they themselves do not feel the need. However, some express a fear that the level of this kind of courses would be low.

The study concludes that traditional gender roles in farming partly remain. Women use farm machinery, but not to the same extent as men, and mainly for tasks concerning cattle or other farmyard work. Informal barriers, such as the design of the machines or other people’s attitudes, might influence women’s degree of participation in handling machinery. Women running farms alone take more responsibility for the machinery than those who running farms together with their husbands. This shows that what prevents women from handling machinery, mainly is gender related norms rather then biological differences. Further research on how gender roles are experienced, and how they influence the life of farmers, is needed. As a suggestion a comparative study between male and female farmers would be relevant, as well as a comparison between female farmers of different ages.

Main title:Vem är det som kör egentligen?
Subtitle:maskinanvändande och könsroller inom lantbruket : en intervjustudie med kvinnliga lantbrukare
Authors:Andermo, Stella
Supervisor:Milestad, Rebecka
Examiner:Salomonsson, Lennart
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2010
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A1N, A1F or AXX
Student's programme affiliation:NY003 Agricultural Programme - Soil/Plant 270 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:jordbruksmaskiner, könsroller, kvinnliga lantbrukare, genus, intervjustudie, teknikanvändande, maskinkunskap
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agriculture - General aspects
Agricultural machinery and equipment
Deposited On:07 Apr 2010 08:56
Metadata Last Modified:06 Oct 2012 14:00

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