Sustainable Growing

How Grodan is helping to close the gender gap in the agri-tech sector

Gonneke Gerkema
February 24, 2024

I was delighted to be a speaker at the launch event for the Gender Alliance for Innovation in Agriculture (GAIA) on 24 January. As part of my work for Grodan, I’ve been active in several management teams, but often as the only female. So for my daughter and future generations, I have a personal wish to see more gender equality in the workplace. But more than that, various studies show that a better gender balance is also good for business!

Gonneke Gerkema profile picture

Significant gender gaps

According to GAIA, significant gaps still exist between men and women in agriculture, with only 29% of farms across the EU being managed by a woman. The gaps are aggravated by the challenges of generational renewal, with only 4.2% of female farmers aged under 35. To close these gaps, GAIA focuses on women as excellent farmers, advisors, agri-business actors and entrepreneurs who can make significant contributions to the digital transformation of European agriculture.

Showcasing females

So how can Grodan help? We are a developer and supplier of Precision Growing solutions for the high-tech production of fruits, vegetables and medicinal crops in CEA, which is perceived to be a traditionally male sector. However, there are actually a growing number of females working in the industry (and in my own department – marketing – the female-to-male ratio is 60:40!). So I think we as an industry could do more to showcase them, and I hope that Grodan can lead by example. 

Like-minded organisations

That’s why I’m happy Grodan has become the first company from the CEA sector to join GAIA. It enables us to be part of a diverse network of like-minded organisations and individuals with whom we can share and learn from best practices.

Besides that, I think we can do more in terms of mentoring and coaching young women. Additionally, I strongly support GAIA’s efforts to advocate gender equality in the CEA workforce of the future. Therefore, I’m very excited about Grodan’s involvement in GAIA, along with other partners including Wageningen University & Research and the European Agricultural Machinery Association (CEMA). I’m really looking forward to working together on promoting gender equality and addressing the gender inequalities across the agri-tech sector. Watch this space for details of our progress!

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