Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Major Professor

Carrie A. Stephens

Committee Members

Joseph Donaldson, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch

Abstract

Though the number of women entering agricultural careers is slightly increasing in the United States and internationally, women who enter male dominated professions, such as agriculture, may be perceived as inherently unsuited for such work (Doss et al., 2011). The purpose of this study was to highlight and discuss the backgrounds and success of women in agricultural leadership roles. The central research question was how have women in agriculture attained their leadership role in a male dominated field? Specific criteria was set for selecting participants, and the criteria included their background experiences, uniqueness to the agriculture field, the impact they are currently making to agriculture, and their specialty in agriculture. This study selected 14 women leaders in agriculture from various locations in the United States. The researchers spent one to three days with each participant in their environment and utilized semistructured, open-ended interviews that lasted one to four hours. The researchers transcribed the interviews and then coded and categorized the data. The researchers decided the data was best represented as individual case studies rather than themes. The researchers found 11 overall conclusions about the data. Three significant conclusions include (a) family, including parents, spouse, and children, impacted each woman’s decisions for her education, lifestyle, and career choices; (b) fathers are a huge influence on their daughters; and (c) each participant discovered how to integrate work and their personal lives to be successful.

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