To celebrate International Women’s Day 2016, two of our regional managers, Pam Wills and Jenni Thompson, joined forces to host an event focussing on women in agriculture entitled, “We’ve come a long way since Jethro Tull”.
Thirty-three guests, including six very welcome men, gathered at Frogmary Green Farm, Somerset, for lunch and the chance to network, discuss interesting issues and honour the role of women in agriculture, past and present.
Is agriculture an equal opportunities industry?
Jenni and Pam opened the talks with a discussion about the number of women involved in farming today. Historically seen as a man’s industry there are a number of records that indicate that this is not the case. Women now account for 41% of the agricultural workforce and 45% of the beneficiaries that R.A.B.I support are female, so have been connected to farming in some way.
Their talk also looked at the thorny issue of whether “agriculture is an equal opportunities industry”, reviewed the challenges and opportunities ahead for the sector and celebrated the variety of roles the sector has to offer to people.
Rupert Cox, Chief Executive of Royal Bath and West Society, chaired the event and guests also heard from two women carving out successful careers in the agriculture sector – Helen Brady of Massey Ferguson EAME/Agco Ltd and Tanya Robbins, farmer, Gloucestershire NFU chairman and Nuffield Scholar 2015.
Women taking tractors to the South Pole!
As Manager of Design Solutions at Massey Ferguson, Helen Brady gave a fascinating insight into working in the agricultural machinery manufacturing world and highlighted some of her career defining moments along the way. One of which was the Antartica 2 project where three women were challenged to take a Massey Ferguson tractor to the South Pole! An inspirational story showing what anyone, regardless of gender, can achieve if they believe in their dreams.
‘Innovative Women in Today’s Agriculture’, around the world
Gloucestershire farmer Tanya Robbins, pictured above, delivered a speech reviewing her recent Nuffield Scholarship on ‘Innovative Women in Today’s Agriculture’. Tanya enthralled guests with her fascinating stories from her trips around the world where she was fortunate to meet a range of women forging careers in the sector and really helping to change the lives of those around them.
Locally, Tanya plays an active role in her farming community helping out at Moreton-in-Marsh agricultural show, sitting on the South West NFU Livestock Board and the Gloucestershire R.A.B.I committee and chairing Gloucestershire NFU.
The event was a great success and raised £480 for R.A.B.I. It was kindly sponsored by Lloyds Bank: a fitting sponsor given the Group’s commitment to leading the way on promoting women in the banking industry and one of the first FTSE 100 companies to plan a goal of gender equality by 2020.