This paper describes a feminist doctoral research project undertaken to examine women's leadership in the Australian sugar industry. My purpose is three-fold. Firstly, I seek to bridge the theoretical and the practical by documenting the 'what' and 'how' of a feminist research project within rural sociology. To do so, I explore five principles which guided my approach to undertaking a feminist study. These were: focusing on gender, valuing women's experiences, rejecting the split between subject and object, emphasising personal empowerment and acting for political change. Secondly, I aim to highlight some of the difficulties and dilemmas such an approach brought and describe some of my attempts to work through these tensions. Thirdly, I seek to open up further debate and dialogue on the question of feminist research in rural sociology.