I’m going to be very real in this post. Very real. Sexual harassment and misogyny is far too common in my industry.
Here is a few of my stories.
I was assaulted in a barn at a very young age by a family member. My punishment was not being allowed in the hayloft anymore. MY punishment at 8 years old. And it was never spoke about again.
I was groped at 4-H events. I matured early and apparently that made it ok for older men to grope me.
Conversely, I was told I wouldn’t do as well in showmanship because my curves were distracting.
I was stalked aggressively at a conference I attended presenting my research on cattle production. He followed me to my hotel and left me notes and voice mails incessantly. I was at an international conference alone and had to make some allies very quickly to feel safe.
I was told to wear a wedding band on farm as a younger female professional to avoid unwanted advances.
There are farms that I was just flat out told to stay away from to avoid being harassed.
I was also flat out denied entry to certain farms because I was a female.
I was commonly called “baby” by a client for years when I was their nutritionist.
I was told by my own family members they wouldn’t deal with a woman rep because what their wives would think and they didn’t want anyone that would go on maternity leave. They also tend to avoid hiring women in their businesses as employees for the same reason.
I was told that I wasn’t hiring material because female feed reps sleep with their clients at a conference surrounded by farmers I grew up with. I stood my ground and the individual had to be escorted out of the event after our exchange. My husband worked for the same company as this individual. The General Manager called an apologized to HIM, not me. The individual that was escorted out had numerous encounters with young female professionals that caused concern over the years. He was never dismissed because he performed well with his sales numbers.
We have come a long way in the Ag industry but let’s be real and own that there are still problems. I am a strong confident female. My past experiences don’t define me, however, I’d be remiss not to let to it be known what happened to me. We can do better.