Header image

13.1 Gender and diversity studies in rural areas

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
9:00 - 10:30


Prisca Pfammatter
Wageningen University and Research

Beyond farming women: queering gender, work, and the family farm

Dr. Federica Ravera
Senior Researcher
University of Girona

Women and extensive livestock management: pathways, barriers and strategies from the individual to the collective


Although women play a fundamental role in pastoral societies throughout the world, as custodians of knowledge, as well as agents of innovation and diversification, and as axes of communities and rural identity, scientific papers in the global north that document those roles are still scarce. In Spain, the relationship of women with extensive livestock farming is very diverse between territories, but legal and social invisibility, as well as a lack of recognition and economic autonomy, are common. However, it is estimated that, between paid and unpaid work, women as men working in extensive livestock farming are the same number and there is a certain feminization of the current generational change in rural areas.
With the collaboration of other colleagues who worked in different regions on pastoralism studies, and the catalan networks of women shepherdesses, the author undertook an ethnographic research with women pastoralists, cheese makers and wool artisans in the Catalan Pyrenees. The objective of this work was to contribute to the visibility of the experiences, needs, barriers, strategies and claims of those women. Through 20 life story interviews, workshops, and artistic tools, we focus our attention on analysing: the ways these women access to farming; their motivations, experiences and responses to multiple challenges (at individual, sectoral and societal levels), including environmental challenges, the roles that women play in abandoning, preserving traditions and practices, or innovating for their transformation and adaptation; and how women interact with institutions. In this communication we will share part of these results and some recommendations.

Gréta Bergrún Jóhannesdóttir
Phd Student
University Of Akureyri

Instruments of power in small communities; gossip and shaming as a gendered social control.


Gossip is often said to thrive in small tightly knit communities and has been considered one of social factors influencing peoples life's and wellbeing. In this presentation I will present my results from a Phd project on the life of women in small rural communities in Iceland. Special focus is on gossip and shaming as a part of social control, and how they are used as instruments of power against women. The study has shown that there are statistically significant relations between migration intentions and perceived gossip, the more the gossip, the more likely people are to want to migrate. There are also really interesting power relations within the gossip agenda, where women often face extensive shaming, mom-shaming and slut-shaming. There is also a challenge in being a single woman in rural communities, especially where gossip and shaming are used to enforce social norms and behavior, often favoring married couples as the norm. Mixed into the genderd shaming are then complex forms of power relations between the locals and non-locals, where the family relations and social capital matters. Research data is based on interviews with young women in small fishing villages in Iceland, conducted in 2019-2021.
Dr. Mireia Baylina
Senior Lecturer
Autonomous University of Barcelona

Exploring new masculinities in rural Spain


Rural areas are often associated with persistent gender inequalities with specifically rural masculinities and femininities, regarding identities, expectations, and practices.
Given that masculinities are constructed in relation to other entities including bodies, norms, institutions, and geographical contexts (Hopkins and Noble, 2009), and that this relationality is an ongoing and ever-changing process, this paper focuses on the identities, expectations and practices of highly qualified young adult men that move to the countryside to start a professional project. These urban-rural migrations are part of the new back-to-the-land movements in some areas of Spain and Europe, led by highly qualified young women and men, with new ideas about work, resource management and the value of territories. We analyze men’ self-perception, how they articulate work and family life, which are their expectations, and what relationship they establish with their territories. Feminist methodologies are used to capture the gendered nature of men’s experiences, through in-depth interviews to men of rural areas of Spain.
The results show different repertories of masculinity that go beyond the common positions of gender, age, and social class; and show progress and resistance in the construction of equal gender relations in rural areas. These data allow us to account for the current processes of construction of rural masculinities to better understand the lives of men and the relative position of women.

Hopkins, P. & Noble, G. (2009), “Masculinities in place; situated identities, relations and intersectionality”, Social & Cultural Geography, 10(8): 811-819.

Session host

Agenda Item Image
Lena Greinke
Leibniz University Hannover

Sylvia Keim-Klärner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Tuuli-Marja Kleiner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Nora Mehnen
University of Hannover



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl