Today, on International Women’s Day 2018, Coral Sproule, National Farmers Union (NFU) President, highlights the growing leadership of women in farming. “When I was a kid, I thought all farmers were men on tractors,” said Sproule. “But now, I’m a farmer and a role model.”
Even with the rapidly increasing proportion of women involved in farming, they still face barriers to inclusion and leadership which need to be overcome. The NFU has encouraged leadership of women and youth since it was founded in 1969. Its Women’s Caucus — Women’s President, Women’s Vice-President, Women’s Advisors from across the country, and women NFU members at large – have also identified the need to encourage more diversity and inclusion within the organization.
The NFU Women’s Caucus is working towards an organization that reflects
- greater diversity of ethnic background,
- more new Canadians,
- diversity of gender identification
- inclusion of those of different sexual orientations
- the voices of Indigenous Peoples,
- understanding different ways of relating with the land
- that childcare is not a women’s issue; it’s a family issue
- inclusion of farm workers, both resident Canadians and migrant workers.
As the women of the NFU, we stand in solidarity with all women farmers and farm workers, rural women, indigenous women, gender non-conforming, non-binary and trans people and all our fellow members of the international food sovereignty movement, La Via Campesina (LVC). We recognize the needs and wants of these groups and their intrinsic value at this transformational time. Women’s voices are rising in a chorus and civic society is finally starting to listen.
We encourage more farmers to join with us by signing up at www.nfu.ca/membership. We welcome non-farmers to join us as Associate Members of the NFU, too. Help us carry on this discussion and struggle throughout the year, to work together to build a movement for more equity in the food system, and to use our power in this discussion to provide a space for those who have been voiceless in their struggles.
“Representation is important, and women’s work continues to go unacknowledged in our society. I hope to be visible, so more young women will consider farming as a career in their futures,” said Katie Ward, NFU Women’s President. “Please take time today, and in the coming year, to support and celebrate your local female farmers!”
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For more information:
Coral Sproule, NFU President: (613) 464-8945
Katie Ward, NFU Women’s President: (613) 797-0601