The engagement of women and technology in agriculture

Hay, Rachel (2018) The engagement of women and technology in agriculture. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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This thesis, focusing on the engagement of women and technology in agriculture in developing countries and in the beef industry in particular, contributes to the discussion surrounding benefits to rural women, men and families from using technology. It aims to contribute to small business management in farming and to expanding knowledge on technology adoption behaviour by rural women. Adoption of agricultural technology such as remote cameras, remote weather stations, bore cameras, and other livestock management systems in the beef industry is inconsistent. Marketing of these technologies has previously been aimed solely at men as the decision makers in rural relationships. Past studies, which are traditionally linked to men's decision-making, indicate that there are several barriers to technology adoption, such as age, attitude, and education. Barriers may also be attributed to male beef producers' own perceptions that they do not know how to use technology or that they are not capable of using technology. This perception means technology-based decisions have been falling to rural women who are often identified as invisible farmers and therefore not recognised for their work. This thesis highlights the importance of rural women's use of, and role in managing, technology and the valuable skills and attributes that rural women bring to decision-making in management and in leadership. The study supports the research's rationale by confirming that women adopting technology is modifying gender divisions away from traditional separate roles towards productive partnerships. The thesis also highlights that technological properties may be more attractive to both children in terms of succession and workers in terms of connectivity and may be a solution to issues surrounding an ageing rural workforce and a shortage of rural workers and it sheds some light onto technologies contribution to positive well-being. A mixed methods approach using face-to-face interviews, an online survey and focus groups was used to view and understand women's motives, actions and intentions in terms of technology use and management, technologies effect on succession and staff retention and if technology is improving well-being in rural families. The results show that technology that is more portable, such as laptops, smart phones, and tablets are being used on farm, demonstrating that technology is being used outside of the homestead. Women are using both practical and communication technology but are moving away from things like searching on the internet, towards using social media where they run off-farm businesses or where they sell their cattle. The results of the studies reported in the thesis indicate that more men are using technology than in a previous study, but women are still responsible for purchasing, programming and teaching male producers how to use the selected technology. Having access to the internet is also increasing quality of life for both women and men as well as children and workers. While some women are still somewhat reluctant to take on technology on-farm, others feel empowered and valued in their work. The research supports previous findings that as technology are diffusing into rural settings, it is modifying gender divisions, and supporting women as they move from traditional separate roles in decision making to productive partnerships in farming families. The research encourages stakeholders to see women as both decision makers and community leaders.

Item ID: 53136
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: women in agriculture, technology adoption, beef, rangelands, social marketing, rural women, precision agriculture, remote livestock management, decision systems, farming women
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For this thesis, Rachel Hay received the Dean's Award for Excellence 2019.

Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Hay, Rachel, and Pearce, Philip (2014) Technology adoption by rural women in Queensland, Australia: women driving technology from the homestead for the paddock. Journal of Rural Studies, 36. pp. 318-327.

Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 04:36
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness @ 25%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1505 Marketing > 150503 Marketing Management (incl Strategy and Customer Relations) @ 50%
10 TECHNOLOGY > 1005 Communications Technologies > 100503 Computer Communications Networks @ 25%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970110 Expanding Knowledge in Technology @ 25%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services @ 50%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 25%
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