As a 2015 Nuffield Scholar*, Máire McCarthy, Director of our Inspectorate and Quality operations, recently presented the findings of her thesis, ‘Women who influence in Agriculture’ at the annual Nuffield Ireland Conference in Dublin.

Her findings are based on a simple survey, completed during her Nuffield Scholar travels.  The respondents all gave very honest feedback.  Some women spoke of the ‘glass ceiling’ and how, through education and self-belief, women are making progress towards achieving   senior positions in the world generally and more specifically in agriculture.   Having spoken to women in agriculture across the world Máire concluded that the issues and challenges were often common regardless of location or occupation.

Prior to undertaking this report she would have said there was no issue with gender equality in Ireland.  Máire is now of the opinion that a lot could be done to improve female representation at family farm level and that this diversity will add value and insight to the business and ultimately the family farm.  The involvement of women in senior positions on farmer Co-Ops, agricultural supports in both the public and private sector and in discussion groups will lead to a more diverse and sustainable future for farming in Ireland. 

We congratulate Máire on her Nuffield research which reflects her passion for farming and women in business.

*A Nuffield Farming Scholarship is a travel and study bursary awarded by the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust Ireland Ltd. The objective of the award scheme is to encourage the advancement of agriculture and rural development through the promotion of awareness, education and leadership in the Irish agriculture and rural sectors.