American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

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Women in Agriculture: Risks for Occupational Injury within the Context of Gendered Role

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. Vol. 8(1): 37-50 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.7224) @2002
Authors:   C. A. McCoy, A. K. Carruth, D. B. Reed
Keywords:   Gendered role, Agriculture, Women, Injury

Women continue to make significant contributions to farming. Not only do women participate in the traditional roles of homemaker, caregiver, and wife, they also work side–by–side with their spouses in keeping the farm viable. More daughters are entering the farming business, either as partners with other family members or as independent operators. Each year since the United States Department of Agriculture began including gender in the Census of Agriculture, the percentage of women engaged in agriculture has increased, and women’s participation in agriculture is increasing faster than in other business segments.

This article examines the role of women in agriculture and how sociocultural, economic, and physical factors may affect women’s exposure to injury–producing events and their knowledge and beliefs about injury prevention. To date, few studies have examined work–related unintentional injuries among farm women. Even less is known about the extent to which occupational risks are recognized when women seek medical care. Differences in size and stature, increased physical strain, and low maximal oxygen uptake may predispose women to ergonomic–related injuries. Limitations of current research and recommendations for future analyses are discussed.