Based on our research and surveys with ALFA’s stakeholders, it has been observed that there is a significant lack of representation of women in the agricultural and biogas sectors of the different ALFA countries. Moreover, out of the 43 interviews conducted, only 5 of the interviewees were women. This finding aligns with the overall low presence of women in agriculture and livestock farming, where they make up approximately 30% of European Farmers, and highlights their limited involvement in decision-making roles.
This phenomenon is closely associated with the fact that most women involved in farming in Europe are older, with only 4.3% of female European farmers being under the age of 35, while 42% are over 65 years old.
In the countries where desk research was conducted, the situation varied. For instance, in Greece, women, although underrepresented, have a significant role in decision-making. For example, while around 45% of Latvian and Lithuanian farms are led by women, in the Netherlands, women own only 5% of the farms. However, in other countries like Spain and Slovakia, there is a lack of solid data regarding the number of women working in the agricultural sector.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that women have equal access to farming incentives, despite presenting equally viable proposals as their male counterparts. In addition, in terms of fostering the participation of women in livestock farming and tackling the stereotypes about their representation in the sector, ALFA could not identify specific programs or incentives in the studied countries. Moreover, low representation rates can be attributed to the stereotypes about gender roles and making the sector less appealing to them.
Similarly, in the renewable energy sector (RES), women account for nearly 32% of the professionals involved, while their representation in the oil and gas sector is only 22%. Women face several significant barriers to entering the RES sector as employees, including misconceptions about women’s involvement in STEM positions, persistent stereotypes discouraging women from pursuing STEM or engineering education, and a hostile environment characterized by underpayment and limited access to higher positions.
Given that gender equality is a priority in Horizon Projects and for European science in general, making efforts to promote gender balance in research teams, ensuring gender balance in decision-making processes, and integrating the gender dimension into research and innovation content can make a positive difference.