Evocative Spotlight On Enduring Role of Rural Women

 In 2021

A powerful portrait of the role women play in modern rural businesses is being showcased by the Women In Farming Network at the Great Yorkshire Show.

The Network is supported by registered charity the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show. It provides support for and seeks to inspire rural women across the county.

By teaming up with Ampleforth-based documentary photographer Lucy Saggers, the Network is telling a compelling visual story of the diverse brilliance of its growing membership and farming women across the generations.

The result is a stunning snapshot of farming lives across Yorkshire, drawn together in an exhibition of 27 carefully curated images entitled ‘All in a Day’s Work’ which is being showcased for the first time at England’s premier agricultural show.

On all four days of the Show, visitors can view the exhibition and a short narrative to accompany the images on Avenue 7, opposite the Young Farmers’ pavilion and a hub of trade stands representing agricultural support charities.

The project is part-funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and NFU with support from YAS.

Kate Dale, Co-ordinator of the Women In Farming Network said: “We are very pleased to shine a light on the different roles carried out by women through this specially commissioned photographic exhibition which we are unveiling for the first time at the Great Yorkshire Show.

“Farming may traditionally be viewed from outside the industry as male-dominated, but the variety of roles taken on by women on farms has always been significant, from playing an active role in farming businesses to taking the helm of diversifications and rural businesses run from the farm base.”
Kate, who farms in partnership with her husband near Boroughbridge, wants the exhibition to empower farming women. She added: “We all have a huge role to play in British agriculture as the industry responds to the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan and beyond. I hope the exhibition serves as inspiration to future generations of farming women who will help lead our industry forwards.”

Lucy Saggers was commissioned for the project for her skill of capturing the essence of individuals in their working environment. Lucy works sensitively alongside her subject, conducting a gentle conversation to draw out the best opportunity for her images.

Lucy said: “It has been a fascinating joy to meet and photograph these committed, passionate women working in agriculture across Yorkshire, who so generously shared their diverse expertise.”

The exhibition features: Christine Ryder of Blubberhouses, Becky Burniston of Pateley Bridge, Charlotte and Eleanor Russell of Thixendale, Ruth Russell of Duggleby near Malton, Becki Leach of Allerton near Bradford, Rachel Coates of Baildon, Jill Smith of Staxton near Scarborough, Molly Sadler of Sherburn near Malton, Mandy Shaw of Monk Fryston near Selby, Annabel Makin-Jones of Micklefield near Leeds and Harriet Hudson of Flaxton near York.

The Women In Farming Network was created in 2013 following requests from women living and working on farms and related industries. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, the Network worked with a small group of dedicated members to extend its supportive community ethos online. A private Yorkshire Women In Farming group on Facebook has since attracted nearly 400 members.

Members of the group will be meeting at the Great Yorkshire Show on Tuesday 13th July and Friday 16th July between 2pm and 3pm for light refreshments and conversation in the covered picnic marquee near White Gate. Another event follows in the autumn. The Women In Farming Network’s Autumn Gathering will take place at Pavilions of Harrogate on Tuesday 12th October 2021.


***MEDIA OP: Photo opportunity and interviews available with Kate Dale, Co-ordinator of the Women In Farming Network, photographer Lucy Saggers and Women In Farming members at the WIF exhibition (Avenue 7) at 11.30am on Thursday 15th July***

A selection of images from the exhibition are available upon request.


  • The Women in Farming Network was created in 2013 following requests from women living and working on farms and related industries.
  • The Network provides opportunities for women to learn from each other, build contacts and offer support to their fellow members. Many of the issues affecting women in farming/rural life, and business are shared by others. The Network has the spirit of collaboration at its heart, encouraging positive outcomes.
  • Women in Farming is supported by registered charity, Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), which supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, business, education and funding scientific research into rural affairs.

CONTACT: Ben Barnett, Charitable Activities Manager: benb@yas.co.uk Direct Line: 01423 546230

Ruth Russell of Duggleby nr malton with her Longhorn
Credit Lucy Saggers

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