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30 Nov 2021

Laois Offaly Minister demands equality for women in farm ownership

Green Party Senator marks International Day of Rural Women

Offaly senator marks International Day of Rural Women in the Seanad

Minister of State Pippa Hackett

Greater equality between men and women in farm ownership, according to Laois Offaly Green Party Minister Pippa Hackett.

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture made the call when speaking in the Seanad to mark International Rural Women’s Day on Friday, 15 October.

“No other occupation has such an imbalance in property ownership.  We know that one quarter of our farm’s workforce are women, yet only 4% of farms registered with the Dept of Agriculture are in joint female/male names.   Women are listed as sole owners of 10% of all farmland in Ireland, but most of these women own the land through marital transfer, rather than succession or inheritance.  These figures don’t tally well for equality.”

The Geashill-based farmer who has responsibility Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture, praised the women of rural Ireland for their determination.

“I have been lucky to encounter many wonderful women with unrelenting drive, determination and resilience – to be innovative and industrious, to diversify, and to drive on after personal trauma and difficult times. Daughters and sisters, widows and mothers, all striving to provide for themselves and their families, in sometimes very remote rural areas,” she said.

“With each new land registry, herd number or farm payment in a woman’s name, each new qualification she gains, each new female successor named, each business sale she makes, or each rural TikTok video she posts; rural women are challenging the prevailing culture and changing the future face of Ireland’s rural enterprises.”

Senator Hackett called for the support of rural men in rectifying the imbalance.

“To rural men, we need your support in this. To the farmers of Ireland I say, why are your daughters not your successors? What can we as policy makers do to help? How do we address that cultural bias that exists?

“We need to keep young women in rural communities, and farming is as good a way as any of doing this,” she said.

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