FBD’s Muldoon on women in agri and ‘marrying smart’

There are a lot of very strong and able women in the agricultural sector, which is a sector with huge opportunity, according to FBD chief executive Fiona Muldoon.

Speaking to AgriLand presenter Claire Mc Cormack today on AgriLand’s live broadcast in Screggan, Co. Offaly, Muldoon expanded on her experiences as a very successful woman in the workforce and what advice she would have for girls and women seeking to “climb the ladder”.

“I’m 31 years in the workforce and the changes I’ve seen over 31 years are enormous. I actually think that there are a lot of very strong and very able women in the agri sector,” she said.

“I think there’s huge opportunity in the agri sector for men and women so that’s all to the good.”

The chief executive said that, from a woman’s perspective and as a mother, she believes it is very important to be supportive of other women.

“You’re definitely more visible as a woman in financial services as I have spent my career – or in agri, [which is] predominantly male-dominated.

You’re often in a situation where you stand out and that can mean there’s more focus on you.

“It can mean you’re judged slightly differently, and of course women have babies and that’s not going to change either, so the support around those early years in particular.”

Muldoon stressed that in the early years in particular, the support that one has at home and from others, and from one’s boss in the workforce is key to keeping people in the workforce through those years where it is very hectic.

She added that the more that is done in that space, the more women will progress – because it is those middle years that it is difficult to balance everything.

And if you can keep the women on the pitch in my experience there is no reason that they won’t rise up in the same way as their male colleagues.

Asked what advice she would give to women to climb the ranks in business, Muldoon had two points in particular.

“Success is something that people see from a difference; in the meanwhile you’re just busy getting on with what you’re doing, and certainly that’s always been my experience of my career.

But I suppose if I had any advice worth hearing it would be to be resilient and to marry smart – we don’t talk to our daughters about that – but to marry a man who sees you as a partner and who will help.

“Because it’s really not possible unless there’s help on the home front.

“It is always a two-handed deal once there’s kids in the equation so I think, resilience at work, sticking at it, and having support on the home front.

“Those would be the two things I’d say – I was lucky to have a bit of both.”