Still predominantly the preserve of men, the role played by women is rarely documented in the world of farming in Ireland.

The role of women in Irish society has changed greatly. From an era where women were forced to stop working once they married to the situation where the tax system has been changed to encourage them to work outside the home. However, in farming and the agriculture industry little has changed and most roles are predominantly taken by men.

Mairead McGuinness reports on the changing role of women in farming and why they remain a hidden workforce. 

Rural Sociologist Patricia O'Hara says that women are leaving farming because, 

Their work isn't recognised, their work isn't counted,  therefore they're not really paid for the work that they do, nor do they receive professional recognition for their skills in farming.

Mairéad McGuinness meets farmer Gráinne Dwyer who tells her story of working and living on a farm. Gráinne married a farmer and thereby became a farmer. However, on the census Gráinne is classified as a housewife. Gráinne has studied the role of women in farming internationally and believes that Ireland is behind the times when it comes to the status of women in farming.

This episode of 'Ear to the Ground' was broadcast on 12 February 2001.

'Ear to the Ground' is rural affairs magazine programme produced by independent production company Agtel for RTE.