Gender and Work in Norwegian Family Farm Businesses
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSociologia Ruralis 2008, 48(2):152-165 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2008.00456.x
The traditional way of organising agricultural production in Norway has been through family farming. A family farm is defined by the ownership of the farm through kinship over a number of generations. This article examines structural changes on Norwegian family farms based on the impact of increased competition and falling prices and subsidies. The strategy traditionally employed has been to increase total household income on the farm through working off-farm. We map changes in income allocation and work strategies on Norwegian family farms over time, changes in income allocation and work strategies among men and women on family farms over time and we show income allocation and work strategies among men and women as farmers and as farmers’ spouses. Through a quantitative analysis of data on Norwegian farmers from 1987 until 2004, we show that there are continuing changes in work and income allocation on Norwegian farms. The trend is a higher dependence on off-farm income. However, this development is not only explained by more off-farm work by farmers – which is an indication of lower value of farm work itself – but to a large degree this is a result of the increasing off-farm work of farm women. While at the same time more women are entering agriculture as farmers, we find clear evidence of differences in the organisation of farms operated by men and women. While male farmers are professionalising as ‘one-man farmers,’ female farmers to a larger degree depend (voluntarily or not) on their partner's assistance in the farm work.