Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

August 1991


Published in Great Plains Research 1:2 (August 1991), pp. 215–232. Copyright © 1991 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Employment data for women living on farms/ranches in six Wyoming counties were gathered in 1985 and 1986 as part of a farm/ranch households survey. This paper focuses on female employment and its contribution to the economic viability of farm operations, by considering the importance of women's as well as men's employment in maintaining the economic viability of farming/ranching operations during a farm crisis and a wage boom. Although an equal percentage of females and males work off-farm, the data show gender-defined patterns. While size of farm operation was a major predictor of the likelihood of engaging in off-farm employment for men, age and education level proved important predictors of women's employment off the farm. Both men and women recognized that the need for off-farm income conflicted with the perceived negative consequences for the farming operation as a result of off-farm work, but comments on the questionnaire suggest that husbands were more comfortable having their wives get a job than taking one themselves.