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University of Regina’s Hill and Levene Schools of Business release A Report on Women Ag Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan

News Release Release Date: June 11, 2020 10:15 a.m.

This morning the University of Regina's Hill and Levene Schools of Business released the first project out of their Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH). The study, titled A Report on Women Ag Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan, examines the current status of women entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan agriculture in 2020. The Report sheds lights on the potential power of women entrepreneurs in agriculture and how to close the gender gap, and build our economy.

In the report, authors Dr. Amber Fletcher, Christie Newton, and Dr. Gina Grandy looked at the existing research on women in agriculture, as well as conducted interviews with 32 individuals across the province including women entrepreneurs in agricultural and related industries. The authors also interviewed others working in organizations that serve and support agricultural industries and women entrepreneurs.

The report found that women in Saskatchewan face barriers that hinder their participation as ag entrepreneurs. Many of these barriers stem from issues related to power structures and inequality and the continued perception that agriculture is a male-dominated industry. Challenges reported by the individuals interviewed include: socialization and gender roles; time and work-life balance; stereotypes, sexism, and discrimination; credibility and confidence; and, access to financing.

Despite the many reported challenges, women ag entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan were optimistic. They also reported major opportunities, including the importance and opportunity for women ag entrepreneurs to be role models and build support for each other; women ag entrepreneurs taking a leadership role in advocacy and mental health; increasing access to financial resources and support programs; and, men supporting change as it relates to women ag entrepreneurship. With 10% of Saskatchewan’s GDP – and $13 billion annually – being directly attributed to the agriculture sector, greater knowledge of the role of women in agriculture entrepreneurship will have significant economic and social impact for the growth of the province.

“Focusing on women who are entrepreneurs in agriculture is an ideal topic for the Saskatchewan hub, and an important topic,” says Dr. Amber Fletcher, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina. “Our report found that there is continued gender inequality in ag, but conditions are changing for the better. For example, financial lenders observe farmers including their daughters in dinner table conversations about succession a bit more.”

Based on the research findings, the Report has eight recommendations for improving the role of women in entrepreneurship and agriculture::

  • accounting for women ag entrepreneurs;
  • recognizing women farmers for the work they do;
  • increased childcare support and child-friendly spaces;
  • men supporting change;
  • building coalitions;
  • access to training and education;
  • access to financing;
  • policy and commitment to change.

The WEKH is a national program made up of 10 regional hubs across Canada, working to increase women entrepreneurs’ access to financing, talent, networks and expertise. The primary hub is located at Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and is led by Dr. Wendy Cukier.

“Becoming a regional hub for WEKH is an opportunity to provide a voice and connection point for women entrepreneurs across the province to build networks, share resources and advance the impact of entrepreneurship on our economic growth,” says Dr. Gina Grandy, Dean of Hill and Levene Schools of Business.  

To learn more about the University of Regina’s Hill and Levene Schools of Business and to read the full A Report on Women Ag Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan, visit www.uregina.ca/business/about-us/WEKH.html.

To learn more about the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub program visit www.wekh.ca.

About The University of Regina:

The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 16,500 students study within the University's 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees.

 

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