Farming is a male-dominated occupation, with gendered responsibilities evident on the family farm. The gendered construction of agricultural work roles carries over into parenting. Farm mothers have primary childcare responsibilities, but fathers usually oversee the most dangerous youth farm work, namely work around large equipment. This study examined mothers’ and fathers’ work and family roles on family commodity farms, as well as risk-taking propensity, safety perceptions, and perceptions of youth injury vulnerability. Participants were 248 farm parents (124 married couples) with a youth aged 9–19 yrs. Mothers were less likely than fathers to operate tractors, less confident and self-efficacious related to keeping their youth safe, and less knowledgeable about farm safety. Off-farm employment of mothers had little effect on their home or farm responsibilities. Fathers, but not mothers, believed boys could safely operate equipment at younger ages than girls. Unexpectedly, mothers perceived less injury vulnerability to youth than did fathers. For mothers and fathers, younger youth age, lower risk-taking, lower safety self-efficacy, and greater knowledge about farm safety predicted higher perceptions of youth injury vulnerability. For mothers, experience operating tractors predicted lower perceptions of youth vulnerability. Mothers often deferred to fathers when making decisions related to youth use of farm equipment. Mothers’ gendered roles and limited opportunity to gain farm safety knowledge may compromise their ability to work jointly with their husbands to keep youth safe on the farm. There is a need for communities to provide farm safety education to women who jointly farm with their husbands.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 4, 2016
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