Official surveys show that women made up just 11.6% of the agricultural work force in 2016 in Ireland. This is the lowest in the EU-28 which has an average of 35.1%. In 2016 13% of farms in Ireland were in the sole ownership of a woman. Although low compared with other EU countries, it is an increase from 10% in 2005. In 2016, just 3.8% of farms were registered in joint male/female names.
Women comprise about 43% of the agricultural labour force in the developing world.
This figure masks considerable variation across regions. Women comprise half or more of the agricultural labour force in many African and Asian countries. Women are over-represented in unpaid, seasonal and part-time work.
Women farmers in the developing world typically achieve yields that are 20-30% lower than men.
Several studies suggest that this difference reflects unequal access to productive resources, e.g. seeds, fertilizers, credit etc., and could be abolished by equal provision.
Equal access to agricultural resources would allow women to be as productive as men and would boost total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5‑4%. This would reduce the number of undernourished people in the world by 100-150 million (12-17%).
(Source The Food and Agriculture Organization, UN)
I am very grateful to the women who feature in these photographs for allowing me to capture them as they live and work on their farms and for agreeing to mount this exhibition in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of women farmers for human nutrition, health and welfare.
To view a gallery of women farmers click HERE.