Women banned from attending award ceremony as it's deemed a 'men-only' event

Dartmouth Fatstock Show. Picture: Facebook
Dartmouth Fatstock Show. Picture: Facebook
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

An agri show has come under fire for refusing to amend the ‘men-only’ policy they have in place for the show’s award dinner.

The Dartmouth Fatstock Show in Devon, England, which sees farmers compete for the best cattle, sheep and poultry, has run for more than 100 years.

But its annual dinner and award ceremony has come under fire, as it's exclusive to male members.

The event – which traditionally takes place on the second Tuesday in December - sees prizes awarded to men and women at a ceremony in the afternoon followed by a men-only awards dinner at a hotel.

The dinner has always been men-only but former mayor of Dartmouth Debbie Morris has called on the show’s committee to scrap the tradition.

She told the BBC she was even banned from attending the awards during her time as mayor and told to send a male representative in her place.

Show chairman, Phil Bond, said the men-only evening dinner was "a tradition and how it has always been done."

"That's the tradition, that's the way it always has been done. I've got the support and the backing from the committee to carry on,” he told the BBC.

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He said he believed "ladies are really not bothered" and he would rather keep out of the "petty argument of it all".

The Dartmouth Young Farmers Association currently has more female than male members, and there are four women on the show committee of 17.

The show committee recently held a vote and decided to maintain the exclusion of women. However, one farmer resigned in protest and said his pleas for change were "shouted down”.

Former mayor, Debbie Morris was told a man would have to represent her at the show when she was mayor of Dartmouth.

Debbie Morris said there was no exception to the rule even when she was mayor of Dartmouth, when she was told a male representative would have to attend in her place.

She described it as an "old tradition" and said: "They like to have a raucous evening. Perhaps they feel the ladies wouldn't approve."

Local farmer Chloe Quantick who won two championships at this year's show, said the show needs to amend its current protocol and let women into the dinner, the told the BBC.

"They need to stop being a bit sexist and let us in there, because we can have a good laugh just as much as men can, so in my opinion we should be allowed to go."

"It would be nice if we could move with the 21st Century," said committee member Jessica Perry, adding the female ban was "very outdated now”.

"But that's something that as a group and as a committee the Fatstock show will have to discuss and hopefully move with the times."

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