Over 40,000 wives are working on farms essentially as “invisible labour” without receiving formal recognition for their work.
The overall CSO statistics show that 70,000 women are working on farms every day in some capacity. Furthermore, over 40,000 of these are married to farmers.
These figures are separate from the roughly 16,000 women who own farms and receive farm payments.
Wives working on farms
Speaking on International Day of Rural Women, the chair of the Women in Agriculture Stakeholder Group (WASG), Hannah Quinn-Mulligan, said:
“This not seen, not heard position on the value of women’s contribution to farm work needs to be called to a halt.”
“Less than 20% of landholders worldwide are women, and Ireland is particularly poor – with just 10.7% of Irish farms in female ownership.”
“We also have the fifth lowest number of female farm managers in the EU. “
She said there are roughly 130,000 family farms in the country, with 70,000 women working across them.
“Yet, just one half of the family farm unit is getting recognition for their work. “
“WASG has been very clear in outlining several Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) suggestions to ensure that the work of women is recognised and valued. “
“When is the Department of Agriculture going to sit up and take responsibility for ensuring that inclusivity is given priority status in the next CAP and call a halt to the ‘invisible’ labour women have been putting into farms for decades?” Quinn-Mulligan concluded.
WASG’s engagement with the minister
It is time for the minister to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to addressing inclusivity in agriculture.
That was the message Hannah Quinn-Mulligan sent to Minister McConalogue during his CAP consultation mart tour recently.
The WASG welcomed support from the minister for women in farming but says he needs to back this with policy. Read more on this story.
See women in ag profiles.