Today is the UN International Day of Rural Women and local farmer Beth Alexander has been recognised for her hard work in not only farming but volunteering and fundraising in the local community.
Beth spoke fondly of her family who helped and encouraged her to contribute to the business following on from previous generations.
Beth Alexander said:
“I was born and raised on a beef and sheep farm just north of Blairgowrie where my grandparents farmed and my dad and now my siblings and myself are all involved in the business.
“Really it’s been from a young age that I’ve been born into it and loved the industry ever since.
“I think it’s a fantastic day and a fantastic initiative to promote the role women have in the rural economy.
“I thoroughly believe that diversity drives innovation and to have diverse workforces – its far more innovation in the sector.
“We’re at such a turning point in the agricultural and rural industries that we need that innovation. We need to look for new ways to create opportunities and diverse income streams.
“I think that’s really the message that women have to the rural sector and to any sector.
As well as her day-to-day work on the farm with her family, Beth graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc in Agribusiness Management and is now undertaking an MSC in Agriculture Professional Practice.
Beth also is a member of The Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) and through her fundraising and volunteering at a local primary school, raised over £1100 for the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) in 2020/21.
Beth also had a message for any women looking to come into the agricultural sector, adding:
“There’s always another way to do something. It might take you a bit longer, but I can always manage to do the same job.
“I was brought up with my brother and although he might be bigger and stronger than me, we still manage to do a lot of the same roles.
“Don’t be scared to ask for help. I think that’s such a huge thing in agriculture, and I think for women trying to come into the industry they’re scared to ask for help. If you ask for it, ask for help, ask for advice everyone there is willing to help you.
Beth also paid tribute to her own mother, an inspiration to her for working in the rural economy.
“I think there’s loads of fantastic women in the rural economy, but my mum is real driving force for women and women in the workplace and if it wasn’t for her before me, perhaps I wouldn’t have the same drive that I do.
“There’s so many but the fact we can all champion together and collaboratively I think is the best thing.”
Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups will be celebrating the UN International Day of Women on social media and National Coordinator, Lianne MacLennan said:
“Women in rural areas are increasingly active in all kinds of traditionally male-dominated careers with it now no longer being a surprise to see women in these roles. In addition, they are undertaking a wide range of unpaid work and services which enable rural communities to survive and thrive. The mental strength and versatility of these women is worth celebrating.
“Women account for a substantial proportion of Scotland’s rural labour force. Their roles can vary from providing informal and seasonal work to making a significant contribution to agricultural production and natural resource management or running their own business.
“Many women have a major role now within the rural economy, for example assisting in meeting the challenges of sustainable food production and others who are entrepreneurs creating businesses that support rural jobs.”
To find out more about the UN International Day of Rural Women, please visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/rural-women-day