Centre for Rural Economy

Hannah Budge

Hannah Budge

Women in Agriculture in the Scottish Islands

Email: h.budge2@newcastle.ac.uk

Supervisors: Prof Sally Shortall and Prof Mark Shucksmith

Project Overview

Historically women’s contributions to the agriculture industry were largely ignored, due to the perception of it being that of a masculine occupation. This has changed in recent times, with work such as the Scottish Government’s Women in Agriculture Taskforce, highlighting the continued barriers which women within the industry face. This took a broad sample from both the mainland and the Scottish Islands. However mainland life is quite different to that of the isles, evident from the recently introduced ‘Islands Bill’ which gave increased powers to the local island’s councils, due to their differing nature to mainland Scotland. The gap in the research which this PhD research will examine are the different barriers that women in agriculture face between/within islands communities, as the current research on gender and agriculture in the UK does not have a specific island component.

This project will focus on factors such as the various land tenure systems on the islands and religious differences and if these impact on agriculture communities. One question to be examined is whether these effects have a greater influence on gender equality on farms than geographical location. To do this, one island from each of the five islands councils: Argyll and Bute, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland Council, Orkney Council and Shetland Council, will be used in the sample, providing a representation of the various archipelagos. The research methodology will comprise of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with women and men. This allows for an in-depth understanding of women’s lives on the islands.