Safety and Health for Women in Agriculture
About 31% of farmers in the United States are female. While women can perform the same tasks as men, women often face struggles that men do not. Some of these struggles pertain to size and strength, pregnancy risks, and stress risks.
Gender Specific Risks
- Breast cancer can be a risk for women involved in agriculture. Women may be exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and breast cancer is of the utmost concern.
- Women are typically a smaller size than their male counterparts. This causes women to not be able to lift, reach, and move the same amount of weight as men. Some women may overextend their bodies, resulting in injury to muscles, bones, and ligaments.
- Women are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses than men. Stressors of farm life, work life, and home life can increase the chances of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
- Pregnant women also face risks that other women might not face. Concerns over chemical and pesticide use and livestock work are at the top of the list. Some chemicals may be harmful to both the mother and the baby. Issues may arise while working with livestock because of the potential for harmful bacteria being passed to the mother and then later to the baby.