Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), senator Pippa Hackett, has called for greater equality between men and women in farm ownership. 

Speaking in the Seanad to mark International Rural Women’s Day tomorrow (Friday, October 15), 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 added.

Praise for women in rural areas

Hackett, who is Minister for land use and biodiversity at the DAFM, has also 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,” she told the Seanad.

“Daughters and sisters, widows and mothers, all striving to provide for themselves and their families, in sometimes very remote rural areas.

“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,” Hackett added.

Equality in farm ownership

Minister Hackett called for the support of rural men in rectifying the imbalance in terms of farm ownership. She added:

“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 policy makers 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,” the senator concluded.