A new research project funded by the Department of Agriculture is to examine the role of women in farming and the agriculture sector.

Announced by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue at the National Dialogue for Women in Agriculture last Wednesday, the project is part of his Department’s 2022 policy and strategic studies research call.

'Highlighting pathways to Empower Rural women to have Sustainable & Equitable Livelihoods in Farming' (HER-SELF) aims to “establish a position on women in farming and the agriculture sector, providing evidence for future policy interventions to enhance the role of women in the sector in the future,” the Minister said.

“It will achieve this by providing insights into the lives of women farmers and workers in the agricultural sector of all ages,” he added.

Gender equality

The Minister said that gender equality had been recognised as a weakness for the agri sector when Ireland’s new CAP strategic plan (CSP) was being designed, while the economic benefit of increasing female participation was identified as an opportunity.

“We have included several measures in the CAP which will support greater gender equality,” he told the conference.

These measures include:

  • An increased grant rate of 60% under the Capital Investment Scheme to fund investments by trained women farmers.
  • The promotion of women-only knowledge transfer groups.
  • Improved recording and reporting of gender data and the leveraging of the National CAP Network to increase the involvement of women in the implementation of CAP.
  • All CAP interventions will be developed with a gender-aware perspective to ensure there are no inherent barriers to women’s participation.
  • In addition, European Innovation Partnerships offer an ideal opportunity for the sector to develop initiatives that will promote women’s participation in farming.