Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett has asked Irish farmers why their daughters are not their successors.
Senator Hackett has called for greater equality between men and women in farm ownership and for women’s contributions in agriculture to be fully recognised.
Speaking in the Seanad ahead of International Rural Women’s Day on Friday 15 October, the Senator said: “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 Department 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,” she insisted.
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 policymakers 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 added.
Senator Hackett, who is Minister for 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,” she concluded.