The gendered contexts of rangeland decision-making in the southwestern United States are poorly understood. We conducted life-history interviews with 19 ranching women and analyzed the resulting transcripts using narrative analysis. Interviews revealed eight common themes in these women ranchers' experiences: 1) learning from older generations, 2) finding a personal career path, 3) operating livestock businesses, 4) breaking gender barriers, 5) leading communities, 6) aging and going on alone, 7) living close to the land, and 8) passing the ranching tradition to the next generation. Women's roles as ranch decision-makers, community-keepers, and business operators evolve throughout their lifetimes, as do their needs for decision-making support from outreach. We suggest that women's life stages and gendered contexts be considered in further rangeland management research, policy, and extension.
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Vol. 69 • No. 2