International Women's Day: a word from our CEO

Teresa Dentby Teresa Dent, GWCT CEO

I was bucketing down quite a steep hill on the Marlborough Downs in a Landover in 2011 when I decided this was a good moment to ask Helen Phillips, then Chief Executive of Natural England, if she thought between us we could persuade Farmers Weekly to have green pages in each issue devoted to the environment and nature conservation.

For those of you for whom Farmers Weekly is not your comic of choice, let me explain that every week Farmers Weekly has a small number of FT-pink pages that has financial/markets information. At the time the Editor of Farmers Weekly was Jane King so Helen and I decided we ought to do some female networking.

Helen was more far sighted than me because she pointed out that there was no obvious network for women in agriculture which she was surprised about as coming from other industry sectors, she had found that quite common.

A few months later we had our first ‘Ladies in Agriculture’ dinner party at the Farmers' Club in London. By then we had enlisted the help of people like Christine Tacon (who heroically ran the club singlehandedly for about the first three years) and Caroline Drummond Chief Executive of LEAF.

For the first dinner we all brought a girlfriend. Ladies in Agriculture has now risen to over 250 members, with each new member inviting their friends to join. This year on International Women’s Day, Liz Truss Secretary of State for Defra will be speaking at the dinner. Sadly I have to be in Scotland but I’m sure it will be a wonderful evening and a fitting celebration of International Women’s Day.

Sadly there are still no green pages to complement the pink in Farmers Weekly. I must try harder.

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