Agricultural education: Gender identity and knowledge exchange

Amy Trauger, Carolyn Sachs, Mary Barbercheck, Nancy Ellen Kiernan, Kathy Brasier, Jill Findeis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Women farmers are underserved in agricultural education and technical assistance. Long held social constructions of farming women as 'farmwives' and in some cases 'the bookkeepers' rather than farmers or decision-makers influence the direction of most educational programming delivered through extension programs in land-grant universities in the United States. Consequently, many women farmers generally view these spaces as hostile, rather than helpful environments. This paper uses the agricultural training framework developed by Liepins and Schick (1998) to analyze our research on developing educational programming for women farmers. We conducted five focus groups with members of the Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network (PA-WAgN) to better understand women farmers' needs for education. Women farmers reported the kinds of knowledge and information they want, in what kinds of contexts, and through what means of communication. We adapt and extend the original theoretical framework developed by Liepins and Schick to incorporate the seriality of women's identities, their discourses of embodiment and the agency granted to them through social networks. Through a presentation of the results of these focus groups, we discuss both the relevance of gender to agricultural education and the importance of the network model in providing education to women farmers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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