What about HER-SELF?

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - 16:00

What about HER-SELF?

The 1st May 2023 saw the start of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funded HER-SELF (Highlighting pathways to Empower Rural women to have Sustainable & Equitable Livelihoods in Farming) project. This is a collaborative, inter-disciplinary research project with Principal Investigator Dr Martina Roche of Maynooth University Department of Geography, Co-ordinator Dr Mary Anne Hurley, Munster Technological University (MTU) and Research Collaborator Dr Áine Macken-Walsh of Teagasc.

In 2015, the UN committed to seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2015), goal five focuses on gender equality setting the target of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls everywhere by 2030. Eight years on, large gender gaps remain across the world. Irish data from the Census of Agriculture 2020 highlights that women are underrepresented as farm holders, farm workers and many undocumented women working in the agricultural sector, making valuable contributions every day to family farms who are essentially ‘invisible’. Ireland has made significant commitments to gender equality under the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027. To meet these commitments at EU and national level, the visibility, equality and status of women in agriculture is crucial to the successful creation, implementation and evaluation of future strategies.

This research will establish a position on women in farming and the agriculture sector, providing evidence for future policy interventions to enhance the role of women in the sector in the future. It will achieve this by providing insights into the lives of women farmers and workers in the agricultural sector of all ages. A gendered focus will be used to analyse existing data on farm income, farm payments and capital investment in farms. The project will identify barriers and enabling factors throughout the career paths taken by women who train in the agricultural sector and the reasons for these choices. It will further identify any geographical differences by region or county in the participation levels, incomes and experiences of women involved in agriculture.

By reviewing existing datasets (e.g., Census of Agriculture 2020, National Farm Survey) and augmenting these with the voice of women in agriculture through interviews and key focus groups this project, will generate empirical data to guide policy reform and implementation in the agri-industry across all agri-sectors, prioritising inclusivity and gender equality for all women going forward.

In June 2023 the HER-SELF project hit the ground running with the recruitment of post-doctoral researcher Dr Noirin MacNamara at the Department of Geography, Maynooth University and research assistant Alice Hand at MTU. In the autumn focus groups and interviews with relevant stakeholders will begin.
For more information on this project contact: martina.j.roche@mu.ie or noirin.macnamara@mu.ie

Read a recent article about the HER-SELF project in the Farmer's Journal here and another on AgriLand here.