Date of Conferral
Women throughout the world have found emancipation through education. Yet, there has been no research on the role that education plays in dairy farm women's primary, on-farm identity development and how farm women's identities develop. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine dairy farm women's perceptions of previous learning (education) and its influence on their primary, on-farm identity development. The feminist standpoint theory provided the framework for this study. A homogeneous, purposeful sample of 10 active dairy farm women were interviewed using individual, face to face, semistructured questions to answer the question: What are dairy farm women's perceptions of previous learning (education) and its influence on their primary, on-farm identity development? Emergent themes and patterns were identified following the in-depth data analysis process of interpretive phenomenological analysis. The findings revealed 3 superordinate themes: identity, identity development, and education. All of the participants discussed factors that contributed to their identity development (family, emotions, and freedom), and they described their perceptions of education's influence on their primary, on-farm identity development. Incidental learning and transfer of skills were perceived as having the strongest influence followed by informal learning, mentorship, and formal learning. The postive social change implication of this research was to change the way agricultural educators and policy makers present information to dairy farm women.