GRASS CEILING Living Lab Spain celebrates a new meeting in Palencia

The Grass Ceiling Project, academically coordinated by the Palencia Campus of the University of Valladolid (UVa), continues its journey, celebrating an interesting meeting where the main challenges faced by women working in agriculture were discussed. The University Campus of Palencia has once again hosted the third meeting of the Grass Ceiling Project. The objective of the working session was to identify the main challenges, barriers, and limitations that women face daily in their agricultural and livestock operations, from personal, sectoral, regulatory, and rural environment perspectives.

To achieve this, the eight women participating permanently in the project and a diverse group of external agents from the associative and cooperative sector, the public sector, local action groups, and several male farmers, have participated in various work dynamics. The research team from the Palencia Campus, led by Professor Margarita Rico, along with several members of the Agri-food Cooperatives of Spain, organized and moderated the event.

The main problems detected are mainly related to the excessive and convoluted bureaucracy that professionals in the field must comply with, often redundant and unnecessary, which takes away time that could be devoted to their own farmers. Other limitations are related to the poor living conditions in smaller municipalities, especially regarding the scarcity of health, education, care, cultural, and leisure services. The scarcity of public transportation and inefficient internet and mobile phone connectivity were also cited as significant barriers. Finally, sector-specific issues inherent to agriculture also pose important obstacles, such as high production costs, limited influence over prices, sector undervaluation, and low representation of women in leadership positions in various representative organizations.

Ultimately, the last discussion focused on proposing an exploratory plan for possible generic action strategies to overcome the identified barriers in the preceding work dynamics. The project concludes its first year of work, with very positive results in terms of conclusions drawn and the participation and commitment of the eight women involved in the experiential laboratory, as well as other collaborating agents. The creation of the working and support network generated around the project itself, constitutes an innovation in supporting women actively working in agrarian activities.