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More women decide to become farmers

KNOWN as one of the dirtiest jobs around, farming has been given a women's touch over the last few years.

It's a tough life, but more women are taking to Scottish fields for a living.
It's a tough life, but more women are taking to Scottish fields for a living.

Traditionally thought of as a male occupation, more and more women are taking to Scottish fields for a living.

There are around 6000 women working on Scottish farms, with the number of men falling steadily.

Indeed, it is a similar picture all over the UK where recent figures put the female complement at 23,000.

Carol McKenna, 37, has been working on the family farm in Kirkcowan, Dumfries and Galloway, for the last 10 years.

She feels the job has shed its image of being gender-specific, with many more women choosing to take up the role instead of men.

Now, Ms McKenna argues, there is "nothing to stop women" from farming.

She said: "When I was a little girl, my great aunts would occasionally help around the farm although they were never at the fore.

"Things are different now. It's not seen as a man's job any more and more women are getting involved. At first, a lot of the men were leaving the farm because they had more opportunities.

"The job isn't as physical as it once was because of the machinery available. I'm not a feminist or out to prove anything at all, but there really is no reason why women can't do the job — so long as they are willing to learn and work."

Ms McKenna admits the early mornings, late nights and hard work would be enough to scare off anyone, regardless of gender.

She added: "You really have to want to do it because you'll be up at 6am some mornings and have to brave the pouring rain.

"You certainly have to give the social life a miss when you're doing 12-to-15 hours a day.

"It can be really tiring and often you wonder, 'What I am doing this for?' But it's all worthwhile in the end."

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