DuPont’s Harden Discusses the Role of Women in Brazilian Agriculture
DuPont recently sponsored the 2nd National Conference of Women in Agribusiness, which took place in São Paulo, Brazil, on October 17 and 18. Krysta Harden, Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer at DuPont, attended the event. During her participation in a panel discussion, Harden highlighted the vital role that women have in agriculture, in addition to the company’s commitment to encourage diversity and promote an inclusive space. “I’m confident we can continue making progress to produce a deeper transformation,” she said.
Throughout the panel discussion, Harden pointed out that women have already a constant presence in agriculture today: not only are they included in the decision-making process on the farm, but they also sit on company boards and work in government positions. “I look forward to seeing very soon that conferences, discussions or actions focused on women’s development and the inclusion of black women in agriculture will no longer be needed,” she said. “But until then, we will continue advocating the inclusion of all people in our company, our communities and in the world.”
During her visit to Brazil, Harden visited two rural producers in Uberlândia in southeastern Brazil, to take part in an experience exchange. “We must work together to solve the global and local challenges. I increasingly seek to interact with women in this industry to ensure that their voices are heard,” she said.
Harden also attended a dinner with 17 rural producers in São Paulo. She pointed out that Brazil is an important market, and ignoring the Brazilian women’s role in agriculture would be a mistake. “We want and need their opinion, their energy, their ideas and their passion for the land.”
Study on the women in the Brazilian agribusiness
During the conference, a detailed study on the participation of women in Brazilian agriculture, titled All Women of Agribusiness, was released. The study, which updated the results of a similar survey performed last year, was conducted by the IPESO Research Institute and had the coordination of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG), the Institute of Agribusiness Studies (IEAG) with sponsorship from DuPont.
According to the study, the bias against women in agribusiness is present, but the willingness to overcome it is even greater. Women drive business, buy raw materials and hire employees and prospect new customers. The study found that the bias, whether subtle or obvious, was experienced by almost 75 percent of women in agribusiness, but wasn’t enough to reduce their confidence – almost all of them felt totally or partially prepared for work in the industry. The study revealed that women played various roles: 98.3 percent drive the business; 97.1 percent attend conferences and trade shows; and 90.7 percent operate agricultural machinery. Key interests included people management (56.8 percent) and business management (54.5 percent), and their main hobbies were being in family (73.2 percent), traveling (57.9 percent) and, of course, working (45.2 percent).
“DuPont is guided by the belief that equality is the key to success in the entire agriculture value chain. After all, our customers benefit from the value we generate by placing different voices, ideas, opinions and perspectives on the table,” she said. “We encourage diversity because diversity stimulates global solutions locally.”