New figures show Ireland has by far the least female farmers in Europe
In the EU-28 women account for 35.1pc of the agricultural workforce however in Ireland the figure was just 11.6pc.
The 2016 Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows that the proportion of women working in agriculture across the EU was much smaller than their share of the total working population (35.1pc against 45.9pc).
Women accounted for more than 40pc of the agricultural workforce in only five Member States, namely Austria (44.5pc), Romania (43.1pc) Poland, Greece and Slovenia (41.1pc) in each of three countries).
By contrast, the lowest proportions of women farmers were reported in Denmark (19.9 pc) and Ireland (11.6pc).
There continues to be a significant gender imbalance within agriculture in Ireland with more than 90pc of farm holders being men.
The latest available data indicates that farms with a sole female farm holder registered on my Department of Agriculture's client database accounted for 13pc of farms; 10pc of eligible land; and 8pc of payments. Only 3.8pc of farms are registered in joint female/male names.
According to recent research women have higher education at school and university and this is manifested now in the employment rate of women under 35 being higher than for men.
Within farm households, women are now generating significant market incomes and are often the main breadwinner within the household, in addition to undertaking traditional non-market activities within the household.
A continuation of this gender imbalance is thus detrimental in terms of the human capital capacity of the sector and may also inhibit technology uptake and structural change.
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