Dairy Women Ireland (DWI), a group of women working in the dairy industry, recently held their first meeting aimed at improving relationships and empowering women in the sector.
The group’s mission is to establish a network to provide support and education for women to lead change in their own circumstances, regardless of factors such as age.
The group’s first meeting started at the home of dairy farmer Anne Marie Doheny, a lecturer at Gurteen College, who farms with her husband Brian in County Kilkenny.
“DWI is working to establish a national network for women in the dairy industry to access events, training and support specific to their farming needs, locally and regionally.
“This first networking event was an opportunity to better understand the supports, systems and education requirements that Irish dairy women need and need,” the group said.
Teagasc Dairy Specialist, Martina Gormley presented a skills seminar on Lean Dairy Management and how to make simple but effective changes on farms.
MEP Maria Walsh also joined the meeting, presenting her thoughts on gender equality and the importance of changing attitudes towards a more inclusive place for women on farms and in industry.
“I felt there was such a sense of change in this room – these women are coming together to make a real impact on women in the dairy industry in Ireland,” said the MEP.
The DWI Steering Committee, which is influenced and advised by the New Zealand Dairy Women’s Network, was brought together by Lynaire Ryan and Paidi Kelly through their work in the Macra Agricultural Skillnet courses.
“[We] realized that women on Irish dairy farms were hungry to be better connected and needed access to more ‘female-focused’ learning and networking opportunities than are currently available,” the group said. .
DWI co-chair Ciara Lynch said the group has been working for over a year and was excited about the first meeting.
Between surveys and lively panel discussions, DWI plans to announce more events and opportunities in the coming months.
“Magic happens when a determined group of women come together and myself and Co-Chair Monica Gorman are so excited to see where it takes us,” said DWI Co-Chair Ciara Lynch.