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Farm Women in Ireland: Agency, Ownership and Rural Entrepreneurship. Tanya Watson (Teagasc Walsh Fellow) Teagasc Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) School of Political Science and Sociology, NUIG SUPERVISORS: Dr. Anne Byrne, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUIG

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farm women in ireland agency ownership and rural entrepreneurship

Farm Women in Ireland: Agency, Ownership and Rural Entrepreneurship

Tanya Watson (Teagasc Walsh Fellow)

Teagasc Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC)

School of Political Science and Sociology, NUIG

SUPERVISORS:

Dr. Anne Byrne, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUIG

Dr. Áine Macken Walsh, Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc

Dr. Nata Duvvury, Global Women’s Studies Programme, NUIG

Lunchtime Seminar

RERC

1st February 2010

Rural Economy Research Centre

overview
Overview
  • Policy context
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Analytical themes:
    • Women’s roles in the rural economy & society in different policy regimes
    • Women’s ownership of property
    • Contemporary rural women: agency, governance and rural development
  • Methodology
  • Progress to date

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policy context

Policy context

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policy context4
Policy Context

There has been a movement away from policy conflations of (patriarchal) agriculture with the rural economy towards a broader conception of the rural economy (Gray, 2000)

Although the rural economy involves a wide range of actors, farm women are noted to be ‘more motivated’ and stronger agents than farm men (Haugen & Vik, 2008; Ventura, 1994)

What are the factors that frame farm women’s experiences as successful agents in the rural economy?

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theoretical framework

Theoretical Framework

5

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theoretical frame
Theoretical frame:

6

  • How can women’s agency in the rural economy & society be analysed and understood?
    • Gender Theory & Patriarchy

    • Intersectionality

    • Property Ownership & Agency

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gender patriarchy
Gender & Patriarchy
  • Gender theory:
    • The social, cultural, economic and political constructions of masculinities and femininities
  • Gendered ascription of ‘roles’:
    • Influence on participation, solidarity, and conscientisation (Petterson & Solbakken, 2008)
  • Patriarchy:
    • Different sites: males are dominant in economic, cultural and social systems (Walby, 1998)
    • Hegemonic masculinity (Connell,1996): Agriculture

Rural Economy Research Centre

intersectionality
Intersectionality
  • Gender is not a stand alone category:
    • It is “impossible to separate out ‘gender’ from the political and cultural intersections in which it is inevitably produced and maintained” (Butler, 1990: 3).
  • Intersectionality:
    • Analytical tool to show how gender collides with other institutional domains and social relations to create new systems of understanding (Walby, 2009):
      • Intersectional junctures of political, economic and social conditions and experiences
property ownership
Property ownership
  • Utilitarianism
    • Property exists to maximize the overall happiness or “utility” of all citizens. Property rights are allocated and defined in the manner that best promotes the general welfare of society. (Sprankling, 2007)
  • Egalitarianism
    • Generating or maintaining equality, such as equal access to resources, especially with respect to social, political and economic affairs. (Widlock & Tadesse, 2006)

“How an object is acquired is not the only important issue when gauging its legitimacy but rather the utility its acquisition provides for the individual holder” (Lamb, p.277)

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agency
Agency
  • The ‘power within’
    • The ability to define one's goals and act upon them (Kabeer, 2000)
    • Different forms of agency: limit or empower
  • Hegel & Marx:
    • Collective agency: belonging to a community
    • Inherited agency: reproduction of past

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agency11
Agency
  • Framed by constraints:
    • Agent engages with social structures that limit them:
      • Gender, ethnicity, class, culture, economics
      • “Women have struggled to change their immediate circumstances and the wider social structure” (Walby, 1998, p.200)
      • Women as active and knowledgeable actors giving shape to their lives albeit in a constraining context (Oldrup, 1999)
    • Property ownership as a lens for examining women’s agency

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analytical themes

Analytical Themes

12

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overview13
Overview
  • Analytical themes:
    • Women’s roles in the rural economy & society in different policy regimes
    • Implications of policy regimes: women’s ownership of property
    • Contemporary rural women: agency, governance and rural development
1 women s roles different policy regimes
1. Women’s roles: different policy regimes
  • Agriculture in Ireland:
    • Patriarchal, despite changes in other occupational spheres
  • Annual Work Units
    • Spouses who work on farms, work longer hours than all other family farm workers except holders (COA, 2000)
  • Gendered division of Labour:
    • Men and women equally perceived: work women do on the farm but largely unremunerated (GEU, 2004)
  • Women reproduce patriarchal structures:
    • Primary aim for both farm men and farm women: survival of family farm (Bennett, 2001)
women s roles different policy regimes
Women’s roles: different policy regimes
  • Transition: ‘Masculinisation’ of Agriculture (Almas & Haugen 1991)
    • Transition towards modernisation & mechanisation (1970s onwards)
    • Female decline in farming and agriculture
    • Reduction of input from farm spouse and offspring
    • Move from family farm to ‘one-man farm’ (Almas, 2005)
    • Marginalisation of farm women from farm enterprise: a liberation
women s roles different policy regimes16
Women’s roles: different policy regimes
  • Accompanying this transition:
  • Off-farm employment
    • 56% of farms the farmer and/or spouse; 40% farmer; 35% spouse (2008 NFS)
    • Women as main ‘breadwinners’ (Brandt, 2002; Kelly & Shortall 2002)
    • Women bearing ‘triple burden’: financial income; domestic tasks; work on farm
women s roles different policy regimes17
Women’s roles: different policy regimes
  • ‘Progressive Feminization’: rural economic diversification & the ‘feminization’ of (non-traditional) agriculture
      • Increase in women’s participation rates in the agricultural sector (Katz, 2003, p.33-35).
      • Innovative and high value-added use of farm resources
      • “beyond imitating the male pattern or the traditional pattern” (Inhetveen & Schmitt, 2004)
      • Entrepreneurial charateristics of female farmers: convert household activities to ‘non-agricultural’ market activities (Ventura, 1994)
      • Farm Women: broad range of skills (administrative, food processing, aesthetic adeptness); higher educational attainment than farm men (DJELF, 2007: p.32)
2 property ownership
2. Property Ownership
  • Traditional agriculture: patrilineal system of inheritance
    • Succession to male heirs: culturally accepted norm
    • Attitudes:
      • Both women and men are likely to choose a male successor to the farm (NDP GEU, 2004)
    • Generational change:
      • Farming as subsidiary occupation
property ownership19
Property Ownership
  • What do women own?
    • Women own 10% of farms (COA, 2000; CSO, 2007):
      • (47%) are aged 55-64
      • (27%) female holders 65+
  • What do they do with it?
      • (54%) work full-time on the farm
property ownership20
Property Ownership
  • How do women acquire property?
    • Farm Acquisition (CSO Census of Agriculture, 1991)
      • Marital Transfer 56%
      • Natal Transfer 27%
      • Purchase 10%
      • Land Commission 2%
      • Other 6%
property ownership21
Property Ownership
  • Joint Ownership
    • Spousal Joint Ownership
      • 3% of registered herds jointly owned (DAFRD, 2000)
      • 90% of women and men agreed with joint ownership; but 17% were owned by ‘self and spouse’ (GEU, 2004)
    • International perspective
      • Untapped potential: household has higher income with joint ownership in USA (Perry & Ahearn, 1994)
property ownership22
Property Ownership
  • What does owning property mean for women?
    • “The gender gap in the ownership and control of property is the single most critical contributor to the gender gap in economic well-being, social status and empowerment.” (Agarwal, 1994, p.1455).
    • Agency and Decision-making power; better position to negotiate changes (family and state) and make choices. (The World Bank, 2009)
property ownership23
Property Ownership
  • Entrepreneurship and property
    • “spouses want an ownership stake in the business in which they invest and help to create” (Macken-Walsh, 2009c)
  • Formalization of position in rural economy
  • Crucial for facilitating & ‘tapping into’ female inputs to rural economy & entrepreneurship
  • ‘New’ non-agricultural rural Economy
    • Comparatively more women are emerging out of this system as entrepreneurs and property owners.
    • “Generating new norms of feminitities and masculinities” (Walby, 1998)
    • Gender equality – necessary for sustainability in the rural economy (Shortall & Byrne, 2009).
3 contemporary rural women agency governance and rural development
3. Contemporary rural women: agency, governance and rural development

Lack of research in the Irish context

Primary research question of this project:

  • To what extent is women’s agency in the rural economy & society leveraged by property ownership?
methodology

Methodology

25

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methodology26
Methodology
  • Overview
    • Secondary data sources
    • Primary data sources: qualitative field research exercises
    • Stakeholder consultation / focus group interviewing
secondary sources
Secondary Sources:
  • Census of Agriculture (CSO)
    • 2010 question submitted on farm acquisition
  • Teagasc sources
    • Diversification Survey
      • Questions added (representative of known farm diversifiers in Ireland)
qualitative research methods
Qualitative Research Methods

Prioritises analytical depth rather than breadth

Small number of interviews (10)

Temporally unconfined

Subjectivity:

“human feelings, perceptions and inclinations which are generated internally by the self and are influenced by socio-cultural influences such as collective values, tradition and forms of knowledge” (Macken-Walsh, 2009)

bnim narrative research
BNIM & Narrative Research
  • Biographical Narrative Interpretation Method (BNIM)
    • Lived experiences
      • Women’s experiences of property ownership
      • Cultural, social, political and economic issues framing women’s ownership
    • Agency
      • How these experiences facilitate or constrain choices
    • Identities
      • How identities are formed based on choices available
stakeholders group
Stakeholders’ Group

Purpose

To facilitate communication and consultation between the research team and stakeholders/practitioners who are experts in the field.

Help to identify crucial areas of consideration within the remit of the research project.

Who

Representatives from 15 state and voluntary organisations.

stakeholders group31
Stakeholders’ Group

Agri Aware and IFJ

Central Statistics Office, COA

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA)

Irish Country Women’s Association

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association

Irish Farmers’ Association

Irish Rural Links Network

LEADER - Irish LEADER Network

Macra na Feírme

Muintir na Tíre

National Women’s Council of Ireland

Organic Matters Athenry

Teagasc

focus groups
Focus groups

Focus groups: “a structured interviewing process where prompts are used to steer a discussion among a group of expert participants that is relevant to the research questions at hand” (Macken-Walsh, 2009)

Enhancing policy relevance and practical application of research findings

Broadening the discussion beyond the primary interviews conducted to give greater applicability to research findings generated from the project

progress to date
Progress to date
  • Theoretical & conceptual framework
  • Methodological design, training
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Field research; due to commence in March 2010
  • Stakeholders’ Group Meeting
thank you

Thank you

Rural Economy Research Centre