There is a need for accurate data on women’s engagement in agricultural activities (Vargas, 2004) . Official data does not convey a realistic picture of the gender composition of farmers and ranchers (Norton, Alwang and Masters) . Most women engaged in farming do not consider themselves as entrepreneurs, but do most of the administrative tasks of the business and are owners os co-owners. A needs assessment study (2006) showed that 87% of respondents were interested in receiving training in topics such as agribusiness marketing, finance, management, accounting, business planning, legal aspects and risk management from a gender perspective.
An AES initiative to address the educational needs of women in agriculture started in January 2007 and continued into 2010 with the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Center for Women in Puerto Rico’s Agriculture. González (2010) reported an increase to 33.9% in women participating in educational activities of AES by 2007-2008. Blas Rivera (2011) evaluated three groups of women who participated in the Center’s activities using a quasi-experimental design which measured the empowerment of women after one year of being impacted. Results showed that confidence, self-esteem and motivation among women participants increased resulting in improvements in empowerment.
Since 2011, the Center’s new vision has introduced a dynamic dimension stressing the importance of resource conservation, demonstrating the importance for sustainability of the agricultural sector for the sake of food security, resource preservation, environmental quality and quality of life.
|Conference||2014 Women in Agriculture Educators National Conference|