South East Women in Farming host panel for next meeting

The next meeting of South East Women in Farming will feature a panel of five farmers exploring gender issues and their repercussions. The gathering will take place in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, on Tuesday, November 14 at 7:30pm.

The type of issues probed will include whether female farmers face different challenges to their male counterparts.

The meeting will ask whether the difference in physical strength has any effect, given the increase in mechanisation on Irish farms. Another question posed will be whether the solitude of farming affects women in different ways to males.

Pregnancy and childcare will be on the agenda. The ability of women to attend training or discussion groups will be discussed. The perception of female farmers will also come under the spotlight.

Five women, at different stages in life, will be on the panel to discuss their experiences, to share their tips on overcoming challenges, and to ask the opinions of others on upcoming challenges in their farm businesses.

The five farmers on the panel are: Geraldine Power, a beef farmer in Co. Waterford; Gail Daniels, a dairy farmer in Co. Kilkenny; Ann Stenning, a retired dairy farmer from Co. Wexford; Siobhan Walsh who currently works off-farm; and Gillian O’Sullivan, chairperson of the Pioneering OAD (once a day milking) in Ireland discussion group.

The panel will be chaired by Ann Fitzgerald. Admission is €5, and all are welcome.

women

The group formed almost a year ago and had its official launch in January. Approximately 120 women in total have attended meetings, with some turning up regularly, and others making it to the occasional one.

Previous topics covered have included: agricultural education; dealing with common farm accidents; sharing stories with the media; mental health; and using social media, said group co-founder, Lorna Sixsmith. One of the highlights was a trip to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.

What’s positive is that farm women are getting to know each other. They are exchanging stories and confidences and they are all picking up farming tips from each other. The discussion is always good.

“Any training has a practical angle to it, for example, a calf rearing course that is planned, will be practical. Along with Suzanna Crampton, I will run social media training so that people can share their stories online, and hopefully more women will curate the @irelandsfarmers account which, in its own small way, emphasises that women in Ireland do farm.”

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