Some 92% of Leaving Certificate (LC) agricultural science students believe more women will work in primary agriculture in the next five years, according to a recent Agri Aware survey.

The questionnaire was given to students attending the Agri Aware farm walk and talk series of tours for second-level students ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD).

There was a 50% male uptake with the students asked about a range of activities and careers.


While farming is dominated by male practitioners in Ireland the perception among the students responding to the survey contrasted this reality.

Only 72% of the students participating believed farming was a male-dominated profession and 27% perceived it as evenly represented.

The students were also surveyed on their perception of gender balance in other professions.

They identified engineering as the most male-dominated career area with over 77% suggesting this was the case.

Teaching, non-primary agriculture and IT fared better in the minds of the students from a gender balance perspective with 48% suggesting there is even gender representation in IT, 44% for teaching and 40% for non-primary agriculture.


Agri Aware’s them for IWD on Tuesday was about breaking the bias and the survey was commissioned to see what biases may be held towards certain careers and activities.

The findings of this survey do not surprise me

The students were also questioned about whether they would consider doing an apprenticeship after their LC and nearly 60% of female respondents said they would consider this as a third-level option.

Agri Aware chair Alan Jagoe said: “The findings of this survey do not surprise me. We at Agri Aware have seen firsthand on our farm walk and talk series the increased interest of female students in agricultural science.

The range of career opportunities in our sector is vast

“My hope is that this interest continues beyond the LC. Whether that be in primary agriculture where diversity and younger farmers are needed or indeed in the wider agri-sector.

“The range of career opportunities in our sector is vast. Hopefully, what we are seeing at second-level education makes its way into those careers over the next few years.

“Judging by the responses of these students any biases about a future in agriculture is being well and truly broken.”

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56% increase in female students studying agricultural science for Leaving Cert