A lemon farmer in the Tucumán region of Argentina, Jessica Ocre speaks wisely about gender equality in the field, and her powerful story deserves to be heard.  
How did you come to work in agriculture? 
Agriculture has been part of my life since I was only a child. My paternal grandmother lived alone on a farm, very far from the city, where she raised animals and had crops. I knew from a very young age that I wanted a life like that, surrounded by that rural energy. It’s very heart-warming to now be able to make that lifestyle my profession. 
How do you see your role as a woman in agriculture? 
My role as a woman is proactive. I seek training in different areas, not just what I “should do.”  I like to be in the field, but I also think that we should internalize knowledge of other topics like commerce, finance, social responsibility, etc. Understanding the whole process makes my work more efficient. It bridges the gap between different areas, and therefore between people, generating continuous feedback that adds value to my business. Passion and perseverance are the two forces that guide my life, and I try to spread them as much as possible. 
How do you personally see the role of women in agriculture in general? 
In my point of view, the incorporation of women, in general, is valuable for so many different reasons. Diversity, not only in gender, is extremely enriching. Having women in the field humanizes agriculture a little more. It gives everyday things a special sensitivity and becomes, in some cases, a real inspiration. Who doesn’t remember that teacher, researcher, engineer, or rural woman, who made you feel so much pride and admiration for how far they’ve come when you listened to their story? 
As a woman in agriculture, what do you think about gender equality in agriculture? How do you experience it and is there anything you hope for? 
I find it great to see and know that a woman has the same strength as a man to overcome difficult challenges. Today, it’s clear that the presence of women in the field has grown exponentially, and it’s not luck or coincidence. Personally, having the example of my grandmother and other inspiring women in my life gave me determination. It was not a question of gender, but of attitude. It cannot be denied that in matters of equity, there is still a long way to go. Differences between men and women exist and will always exist. Harnessing that difference to power synergy and complementarity, and turning it into something positive – that’s where the real challenge lies.

Photo: Jessica Ocre