Women working in the Agriculture sector in Limerick are set to receive a boost in the industry following changes made to the Common Agriculture Policy.
The Minister of State for Skills and Further Education and Limerick County Fianna Fáil TD, Niall Collins, has welcomed a range of measures introduced in a new strategic plan to help combat gender inequality in the Irish agriculture industry.
Minister Collins commented, “The role of women in agriculture is important and I am glad to see a number of measures which will increase their participation in farming. It is vital that gender mainstreaming is integrated into policymaking both through specific CAP interventions, such as the 60% grant rate for qualified female farmers under TAMS, and also through all agriculture schemes.”
Ireland has one of the lowest levels of women in farming in Europe, with only 15% of workers in the primary agriculture, forestry and fishing sector are female. This figure comes from a 2020 CSO Labour Force Survey.
Addressing this inequality was a key objective of the new 2023-2027 plan for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).
The new measures include a 60% grant for women aged 41-55 years who work in the sector.
The new CAP Regulations place particular focus on promoting the participation of women in the socio-economic development of rural areas, with special attention to farming as a SWOT analysis in preparation for the CAP Strategic Plan identified gender inequality as a weakness.
The Women’s Council of Ireland believe that: “It is a very positive first step which will make a difference to a generation of women farming in Ireland.”
However, The Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group (WASG), a new umbrella group for women in farming, commented that “the 55-year age limit is not fair and cuts out a large portion of women who are still active members of the family farm.”
In preparation for the announcement of the new plan, Maria Walsh MEP, highlighted that: “16,000 women get farm payments yet 70,000 work on farms in Ireland. We must include our women farmers in CAP and ensure that 77% of women farmers are no longer denied access to the Single Farm Payment.”
Further work is being done in Limerick to include women in the farming sector. Pallaskenry Agricultural College are working in conjunction with WASG to provide free tractor and machinery courses for women.
The courses are set to begin at the end of November and has already gained a great deal of interest from women in the Limerick area.
The Chair of WASG, Hannah Quinn-Mulligan commented:” A tractor is not able to tell if a man or woman is turning the key in the ignition.”
She continued: “We have had a huge demand from women of all ages wanting to advance their tractor and machinery knowledge and we are delighted that the principal in Pallaskenry, Derek O’Donoghue is helping to lead the charge in this area and support women in agriculture.”