Dr. Paula Gale speaks on women in agriculture
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 17:11
Women’s role in agriculture is an important topic for an area like Martin, Tenn.
That was the topic of the guest speaker, Dr. Paula Gale, at the Women’s Center on Nov. 13. Gale is a professor of Soil Sciences at UTM. As a female, she is an advocate for women in the agricultural field.
When Gale was a student, she had a male mentor. When discussing her future in agriculture he asked her if she wanted to be a woman in soil science or a soil scientist.
"I'd rather be recognized as a good soil scientist than a female soil scientist", Gale said.
Gale told the audience about a woman named Vivien Allen. She was the first woman to graduate from UTM with a bachelor degree in General Agriculture in 1962. She chose UTM, because it offered everything she would need to be a successful farmer in the future. She continued to receive a master’s and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Agronomy and a minor in Animal Science. She currently teaches at Texas Tech.
Over the years, things have gradually gotten more positive for women in agriculture. In 1988, 81 percent of agriculture degrees went to male graduates. In the 2010 survey, 61 percent went to male graduates. It is moving closer to 50/50 for men and women.
Women receive more degrees in animal science, pre-vet and agriculture education degrees.
Gale expressed the lack of women in agriculture by passing around agricultural publications. In the many different publications, there were very few women in advertisements and articles.
Women are discouraged from the agricultural field. To encourage women to ignore the negativity, The Water & Recycling News created the Rosie Awards. The Rosie Awards go to women who make a difference in their industry.
As always, the job market is rough. For women the bar is set a little higher. However, Gale believes the future is bright for women in agriculture. There are internship opportunities of which women should take advantage. It may be difficult, but women can persevere and make a difference in agriculture.
“We’re just looking for people who are interested”, said Gale about the future.