15 October 1999
Women’s farm role growing

FORGET the stereotypical farmers wife – according to a new survey girl power has reached the farmyard, with women playing a bigger part than ever before.

The survey, by the NFU and Womens Institute, found that Britains farming women are rising to the challenge of the farming crisis and taking a more active role in the running of the farm.

More than 91% of the women who returned the survey said their involvement in the farm in the past 10 years had increased.

Almost half of the respondents said that they pitched in with manual work on a daily basis while nearly 10% said they ran the business in their own right.

Responsibility for the farm accounts and administration had been assumed by a staggering 72% of those women questioned. And the results also proved that women were leading the way in terms of diversification projects.

More than a third of those questioned were involved in some kind of alternative farm enterprise including farm holidays, catering, pick your own enterprises and liveries.

In terms of political lobbying, women were again at the forefront. More than 50% had contacted their local MP to talk about rural issues and 24% said they had given talks to raise awareness of rural problems.

The findings will be discussed today (Friday), at a conference organised by the NFU, as part of World Rural Womens Day.

Princess Anne will address the event which organisers hope will act as a platform to raise issues of concern among rural women.