Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue says it’s time to put female farmers in the spotlight.

Women make up less than one third of people working on farms in Ireland today. 

Just 13% of Ireland’s 130,000 farm holders are female.

“We cannot meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities ahead if we continue to have an under-representation of women, both within farming and across the sector,” says Minister McConalogue.

The Donegal Minister will today host the National Dialogue on Women in Agriculture in Portlaoise.  The dialogue is being led by former Tánaiste and Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan, and features panel discussions and workshops to gather views to feed into future national policy on the issue of greater gender equality in agriculture.

“It’s time to take the role of women farmers out of the shadows and put them firmly in the spotlight. I believe this National Women’s Dialogue will do that,” said Minister McConalogue.

“We have included several measures in Ireland’s new CAP Strategic Plan which will support greater gender equality. However, to meet our Food Vision 2030 goals of greater environmental, economic and social sustainability, greater women’s participation is crucial.”

Fewer than half of farm holders have a succession plan in place and 83% of identified successors are male.

The outcome of today’s discussions will be compiled into a report that will inform policy in this regard in the coming years. This will be strengthened by a specific research project on women’s participation in agriculture, and ongoing engagement with stakeholders.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett said: “It is fitting that we are gathered on St Brigid’s Day to discuss the participation and visibility of women in agriculture. Improving the social sustainability of agriculture is a priority under Food Vision 2030 and gender equality forms an important part of that. From the perspective of farm safety, this will also bring improvements to the health, wellbeing, and safety of all those who live and work on farms as a greater influence of women in the management of farms can lead to the adoption of safer farm practices.”