Mary Carroll is a freelance trainer and Director of ‘The Succession Conversation’ which is aimed at assisting people in planning succession for their family businesses, with special focus on farming families. She also works part time in the Tralee International Resource Centre helping to promote integration in the community.
As a farmer’s daughter (only girl) growing up on a farm in Co Laois, Mary has seen first hand how women in agriculture can often be invisible. She worked for 4 years as a countryside management advisor in the Department of Agriculture inNorthern Ireland. As a professional in the agriculture industry, she had a unique perspective of how women in agriculture were viewed by Government. In her role as IFA Equality Officer, she worked with many women in agriculture from all overIreland. Mary wrote a book of her experiences, called ‘Women Drive Tractors Too’, which captures the lives of 18 women in agriculture from all overIreland. Mary also worked as an equality officer with Concern which showed her the importance of working with and for women in development aid.
Because I am a Girl I ask…why do we still have so much gender inequality – why is it still so important that land is kept in the family name thereby favouring male inheritance and why can’t we not see the importance genuinely of having mixed gender representation at decision making levels.
Because I am a Girl I believe…that all people have potential and that life is about fulfilling that in whatever way we can – irrespective of gender.
Because I am a Girl I hope…that somehow I could change things a little to improve the situation or help to empower some women to live their best life.
Because I am a Girl I wonder…why more people don’t discuss or object to the fact that men are expected to keep their name on marriage and women should change theirs, and why do children only take their father’s name in majority of cases. Who set up that system I wonder?!
Because I am a Girl I dream…of a world where self esteem is taught in equal measure to academic topics. I dream that every child would have their potential developed and they would find their way in life.
Because I am a Girl I remember…that I felt slightly excluded growing up in farming world and that affected me, as I saw it as unfair even at a young age.
Because I am a Girl I like…being able to find a niche where I can support other women. I have worked with women in personal development workshops and I am amazed at how many women can have such low confidence, especially after staying at home for a period of time.
Because I am a Girl I dislike…terms like ‘farmers wife’ and ‘housewife’ and so on…the stereotyping is amazing.
Because I am a Girl I feel…very strongly about how land is still passed down through the male line – this is blatant discrimination that goes unchallenged as a ‘norm’.
Because I am a Girl I celebrate…seeing my daughter develop and hope I can instil a ‘can do’ attitude in her. I also celebrate the depth of thoughts of people and the connections that I have made and the wide network of my female support structure.
– Mary Carroll