Small ruminant production is the main agricultural activity for farmers in the Taurus Mountain villages in the Southern Mediterranean region of Turkey. Educational and/or training programs concerning animal production toward women in the research area are far from an acceptable level, despite women's significant role in production. A survey was conducted in ten villages in the Taurus Mountains with 100 women to find out women's role in the labor distribution, decision-making, reasons for rearing small ruminants and the importance of the agricultural extension service as an information source. In this research area, women spent an average 2.8 h of a total 12.6 h working day in small ruminant activities. If these activities involved technicalities and money, like vaccinations and stallion, men and/or veterinarians made the decisions. In 94.0% of the farms, the women and girls were responsible for milking. The main reason for keeping small ruminants was the opportunity for cash income. It was determined that the women's attitudes toward the training/educational programs about small ruminant production were extremely positive, but very few programs were offered to them and only 3.0% of the women had a chance to participate in these limited educational programs offered by extension or veterinary services. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.