“Hi, I’m Lucy. Nice to meet you.”
“Hello, I’m Jane. I’ve just moved in up the road with my husband.”
“Oh, so we’re neighbours. What made you move here?”
“My husband is the new lawyer at the firm in town.”
So far, so good. But can you imagine if, in this exchange, I’d then gone on to say: “Oh… so you’re a lawyer’s wife then.”
It’s 2022. If you worked in an office, identifying a woman by her husband’s profession would be a surefire way to get you a disciplinary from HR. So why are we still doing it to women who live on farms?
I could tell someone how I used to manage a million-pound fundraising budget. How I got a first-class degree. How I now run my own wedding business. How I’m a columnist, an ambassador, the list goes on…
But I might as well not bother and take a big fat eraser to it all, because as soon as I mention I live on a farm with my husband who’s a farmer, I get: “Oh, so you’re a farmer’s wife?” What does that even mean?
The so-called “farmer’s wife” comes in a variety of forms. Some are expert bookkeepers. Some keep livestock. Others grow crops. Some manage farm diversifications and others bring in vital funds through an off-farm job.
We have passions, interests, aspirations and goals. It’s true: We are wives, we are mothers, we are daughters. But we are more than just one of those things.
I think the world has developed enough that we can stop identifying women by who they’re married to.
We all know that farming is not a 9-5 lifestyle and it comes with its own blessings and curses for family life. It is by no means the “Jam and Jerusalem” that people imagine.
But women’s roles in agriculture extend lightyears beyond simply being a farmer’s wife, and I don’t have the word count to do us all justice.
Some women may like the farmer’s wife tag and that’s OK. But let’s get the definition straight (good luck with that one) before we start labelling.
So, we’ll try that again shall we? “Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a woman who lives on a farm with her family…”