Women in French Agriculture: A Historical Perspective
This project explores the roles of women in French agriculture, both viewing the traditional roles and perceptions throughout history and how those roles have changed today. Although women make up just about half of the population of France, only a quarter of all farmers in France are women. Women farmers, les agricultrices, have often been limited to household work or work that affects the household, like raising small animals and tending the garden. In the middle of the 20th century, women began leaving farm life for opportunities in the city, an event known as the Feminine Exodus. Today, les agricultrices are finding their voice, but many stereotypes still exist, despite a number of rights that they have fought for and received. As a comparison, American female farmers still experience much of the same invisibility as French female farmers, though there are many more American women who own their own farms. I show this comparison through current statistics as well as through my own experience as a female farmer in Montana.