Former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan is to lead national efforts to promote women in Irish agriculture

The government has asked former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan to lead efforts to advance women in agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue has announced that a national conference on women in agriculture will be held in the coming months, chaired by Ms Coughlan, a former Agriculture Secretary.

Speaking at the National Plowing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois, Mr. McConalogue said Ms. Coughlan’s “expertise and experience empowers her to drive positive change related to gender relations in the agri-food sector”.

Ms Coughlan, a former Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal South-West, served in various Cabinet portfolios including social affairs, agriculture, enterprise, education and health during the Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen governments in the 2000s. She was Tánaiste when she lost her seat in the 2011 general election.

Mr McConalogue said he wanted to do more to recognize the significant contribution of women to the agri-food sector, saying he had not always been given “the recognition he deserved”.

“I’ve been working to address this issue. The convening of a national conference offers an opportunity for stakeholders to make contributions on how to improve the visibility and status of women in agriculture,” he said.

He said there will also be specific supports in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to help women farmers make investments on their farms.

The government’s new CAP strategic plan, recently approved by the European Commission, includes support to promote gender equality and more women’s participation in agriculture.

Around 13 per cent of all farms in Ireland are women, with CSO data showing there are around 75,000 female farm workers in Ireland, meaning over 58,000 women work in agriculture with no visibility and no farm status.

The government’s 10-year strategy for the agri-food sector, Food Vision 2030, includes actions to promote and improve gender balance at all levels, including senior management and board level.

She also recommended holding a national conference to discuss gender issues in agriculture, which Mr McConalogue announced today. Former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan is to lead national efforts to promote women in Irish agriculture

Fry Electronics Team

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