Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, 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, as well as speakers including the former German Minister for Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, Glanbia plc CEO, Siobhán Talbot. Minister McConalogue as well as his colleagues Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon. The objective of the dialogue is to gather views to feed into future national policy on the issue of greater gender equality in agriculture.
Minister McConalogue, addressing the dialogue said, “Of the nearly 280,000 people working on farms in Ireland, some 27% (75,113) are female. However, of the over 130,000 farm holders, just 13% (16,900) are female. Fewer than half of farm holders have a succession plan in place and 83% of identified successors are male.
“We have included several measures in the 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. 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.
“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.”
Minister of State Hackett said, “I am passionate about finding collaborative solutions to advancing the gender equality agenda within the agriculture sector in Ireland. Today, we have taken an important step in coming together and discussing the issues. We must now continue to make progress so that agri-food can benefit from greater female participation in the future and we can continue to advance our journey towards greater sustainability, including considering options for farm diversification such as organics and forestry.”
Minister of State Heydon 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.”
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.