• #WomenInspiringWomen
  • #WomenInAg
  • #RuralWomen

Female-led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas

Grant Agreement Number:

Funding Scheme Horizon Europe:
RIA - Research and Innovation action

Total Budget:€ 2 999 913,75

EU Financial Contribution:

Start Date:January 2023

Duration:36 months

University of Galway

Welcome to the first release of the FLIARA Project newsletter, where we proudly present our ongoing efforts to promote and empower women in agriculture and rural areas. We believe that true progress and sustainable development can only be achieved when women's’ innovative potential is recognised and harnessed.

Despite the significant strides made in gender inclusivity, it remains evident that women have historically been underrepresented in agricultural and rural enterprises. Policies and supports, both at the European and national levels, while valuable, often fail to fully engage and invest in the talents and aspirations of women.

Consider this: in the European Union, family-run farms make up 96% of the total, yet women manage only 29% of them. Furthermore, while women constitute 50% of the EU's population, their presence in the self-employed workforce stands at 34.4%. These figures underscore the untapped potential of rural-based women in driving innovative and entrepreneurial endeavours.

Introducing FLIARA

FLIARA is an EU-funded project currently working on boosting the understanding of the needs and challenges facing women leading innovative environmental and rural development practices in EU farming and rural areas.

The FLIARA Project recognises the key role that women's leadership plays in fostering resilient and innovative rural communities. We aim to dismantle the barriers that hinder women's progress, including gender stereotypes, limited access to resources, and the challenges of reconciling work and family obligations. Our project is built upon a multi-actor approach, uniting diverse stakeholders who are committed to advancing gender equality and promoting the European Gender Equality Strategy. We can unlock a wealth of fresh perspectives and pave the way for a more inclusive and sustainable future by enhancing understanding and recognition of women's contributions in farming and rural areas.

Empowering Change Makers: Building a Sustainable Future with FLIARA

Who We Are And What We Do?

At FLIARA, we are a consortium of esteemed partners with diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge spanning various fields. Our expertise includes geography, sociology, agriculture, economics, anthropology, planning, gender studies, rural development, entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing, communications, open science, sustainability, psychology, and futures studies. This extensive range of knowledge allows us to approach the project from multiple perspectives, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in fostering sustainable and inclusive development in farming and rural areas.

Each partner brings unique strengths and experiences to the table, contributing to specific areas of focus based on their expertise. However, it is in the collaboration and collective effort across all work packages that the true strength of FLIARA lies. We strive to accomplish significant results and generate noteworthy change by leveraging all partners' knowledge, networks, resources, and skills.

Our interdisciplinary approach, combined with a dedicated focus on gender aspects, enables us to address the complexities of creating a sustainable, balanced, and inclusive future for agriculture and rural areas. Through futures research, innovation, and collaboration, we aim to foster women-led innovation, enhance policy frameworks, and promote knowledge and innovation systems that empower women in farming and rural communities.

Consortium Composition

The FLIARA consortium comprises esteemed universities such as the University of Galway (Galway), Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), University of Calabria (UNICAL), University of Turku (UTU), University of Ljubljana (UL), Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), Jönköping University (HLK – Jönköping), University of Oulu (UOULU), Mendel University in Brno (MENDELU), and Linnaeus University (LNU). These academic institutions boast rich backgrounds in policy, practice, and cutting-edge research. Their invaluable insights will shape the trajectory of our project.

The FLIARA consortium also includes prominent European Networks like the European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD) and European Network for Community-led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability (ECOLISE), further amplifying our reach and impact. Teagasc, a national agricultural state agency and extension advisory body, brings their extensive experience and practical knowledge to the table. The involvement of Longford Women's Link (LWL), a dedicated Community Organisation and Social Enterprise, and Consulta Europa (CE), an innovative SME, adds essential diversity and dynamism to our consortium.

The University of Galway is at the forefront of the FLIARA project, taking the lead and bringing their extensive expertise in various initiatives and programs. The FLIARA University of Galway Team, based in the Rural Studies Centre within the Discipline of Geography, School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, plays a pivotal role.

ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, brings its expertise on fostering grassroots movements and pioneering approaches to sustainable transformations. With a vision of empowering local communities, ECOLISE serves as a vital bridge, forging connections between key sectors and stakeholders throughout Europe.

The University of Turku (UTU) with its renowned Finland Futures Research Centre, spearheads expertise in futures studies. The centre's profound knowledge of envisioning future scenarios aligns seamlessly with the project's overarching goal of fostering sustainable farm and rural futures.

The University of Calabria (UNICAL), a vital member of our consortium, brings exceptional expertise in innovation, gender studies, and rural development to the table. With a keen focus on empowering women, UNICAL will play a pivotal role in analysing and exploring the pathways and requirements for women-led sustainability innovations.

FLIARA aims to be in the vanguard of agricultural and rural development transformation, resulting in a more equitable and sustainable future. To have a long-term influence on farming and rural areas, we are bridging disciplines, developing collaborations, and advocating gender equality.

Are you excited to know more about our consortium members? Throughout the project a dedicated section we will be placed on the newsletter to talk about all of them!

Stakeholder Advisory Board

The Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) is an integral component of the FLIARA project's multi-actor approach. The board is playing a key role in offering strategic, practice-focused, and end-user centric advice to the consortium regarding FLIARA activities. Comprising representatives from various EU contexts in the fields of farming, innovation, and policy, the SAB ensures a diverse range of perspectives are considered in shaping the project's direction. We are delighted to introduce you the members of our SAB:

Lara Rodríguez

South Europe Innovation Project Manager at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food, Spain.

Ethan Cleary

Agricultural Technology Policy and Innovation Executive at the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and COPA-COGECA, Ireland.

Valentina Hažić

Business Consultant at Agrotina, Croatia.

Inge Van Oost

Policy Officer AKIS coordination & CAP networks at the European Commission DG AGRI Unit D.1 - Rural Areas and Networks, Belgium.

Valentina Carta

Researcher and Techonologist at the Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economy Analysis' (CREA) Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy, Italy.

Nancy Samargiu

Policy and Innovation Expert at the (RNDR) - Network Support Unit, Romania.

Steve Dolan

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Ireland.

Building a pathway towards recognition of women-led innovations

Key Concepts Informing Our FLIARA Project

Rural women frequently face unique challenges and often go unnoticed in farming and in rural business. The FLIARA project aims to reverse this rural reality, by empowering rural women, promoting gender equality and highlighting the innovative practices women undertake and often lead in farming and rural areas. To help us along this path, the FLIARA project partners have worked collaboratively to ‘co-create’ a roadmap that guides us in understanding complex ideas around rural gender issues...

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Expanding our Knowledge around Rural Innovative Women

FLIARA Project explores the innovative practices of rural women in farming and rural areas. To appreciate this subject, the project partners first needed to understand the key issues and what better way to do this than to examine the knowledge that already exists. Knowledge that academics, other project groups, rural practitioners and key stakeholders have already fashioned as they journeyed this path before us. Central to understanding the issues and creating a knowledge review around them was a process of co-creation, which involved all FLIARA project partners, bringing personal, professional and existing knowledge to the table...

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Exploring Sustainable Futures: Envisioning Women's Role in Farm and Rural Innovations

Within the FLIARA project, the focus is on creating visions that address sustainability challenges and highlight the contributions of women in shaping farm and rural futures. These visions are being developed by identifying and assembling elements that effectively tackle sustainability problems. In this sense, FLIARA aims to provide insights and guidance for fostering gender-inclusive innovations that propel the journey towards sustainable farm and rural communities by envisioning these futures...

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Related Projects

FLIARA, GRASS CEILING and SWIFT: Supporting women-led innovation in rural areas

Rural Vision welcomes FLIARA, GRASS CEILING and SWIFT, three recently launched projects funded by the European Union under Horizon Europe, to empower and enhance the role of women in rural life and agriculture through research, training, and policy development.

Learn more

Grass Ceiling Project

GRASS CEILING (Gender Equality in Rural and Agricultural Innovation Systems) is a three-year multi-actor project funded by the European Union through Horizon Europe (grant agreement number 101083408). With a focus on empowering rural women, GRASS CEILING aims to foster socio-ecological innovations led by women in agriculture, the rural economy, and rural communities. The project aligns with the UN's goals on gender parity, the EU gender equality strategy, and key initiatives such as the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy, the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas, and the European Pillar of Social Rights.

SWIFT Project

SWIFT (Supporting Women-led Innovations in Farming and rural Territories) is a project dedicated to promoting sustainable and inclusive development in European rural areas. With a focus on women-led innovations, SWIFT strives to drive positive change in agriculture while advancing gender equality from an intersectional, feminist, and human rights-based perspective. Through applied feminist innovation studies research, SWIFT aims to reshape the narrative in agriculture and address the social dynamics that perpetuate inequalities.

Attended Events

Spotlight on FLIARA's Event Engagements: Inspiring Collaboration and Progress

Food Vision 2030 - A World Leader in Sustainable Food Systems

Maura Farrell, Project Coordinator, Associate Professor, took part in the Panel Discussion "Women in Farming - Challenges and Opportunities" and represented FLIARA during the National Dialogue on Women in Agriculture on 1st February 2023 in Ireland. The event was organised as part of the Food and Vision 2023 programme, hosted by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine of Ireland. The conference focused on addressing gender issues in farming and the agri-food sector, and it aimed to explore ways to enhance gender balance in the future.

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The 2nd Meeting of the 6th Mandate of SCAR AKIS

The 2nd Meeting of the 6th Mandate of SCAR AKIS occurred on 12th-13th April 2023 in Prague, Czech Republic.

The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic. Maura Farrell, Project Coordinator, Associate Professor, had the opportunity to present the FLIARA Project.

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The European Startup Village Forum

The Startup Village Forum, held in Belgium on 28th February 2023, is a significant component of the broader vision for rural areas in the European Union. The 2023 edition of the forum served as a platform for discussing various ongoing experiences related to Startup Villages, as well as the supporting tools established by the European Commission and developed by different stakeholders. Maura Farrell, Project Coordinator, Associate Professor, participated in the session on "Policies, knowledge, and instruments for rural innovation and entrepreneurship."

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Rural Pact Conference, Sweden

The Rural Pact Conference took place in Uppsala, Sweden, from 3rd May to 4th May. During the conference, Annie Roos, our colleague from Linnaeus University had the opportunity to promote and disseminate FLIARA, along with the GRASS CEILING Project.
The gathering brought together participants from different member states, NGOs, politicians, researchers, and representatives of EU institutions to explore topics related to rural development.

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FLIARA across the EU

FLIARA has been generating a significant buzz across Europe in the first 6 months of the project!

Check out our Multimedia content!

Visit FLIARA’s Multimedia platform on the website for inspirational podcast and videos in different EU languages.

Go to Multimedia

In Her Field, Episode 1: Maura Farrell, Project Coordinator, Associate Professor.

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European Project to Enhance Women’s Role in Rural Life Launched

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, FLIARA is a three-year project, which aims to combine futures and case study methods, alongside network building and policy benchmarking, while being underpinned by a co-created conceptual and assessment framework. It will actively involve female farmers and female rural entrepreneurs.

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FLIARA Kick-off meeting in Brussels marks the beginning of the project

The first day of the FLIARA kick off meeting (26th January) was structured as a warm-up and introduction to present the overall vision and the Advisory Board members, and start discussions on specific activities of the project, namely contextual concepts and assessment frameworks, communication and policy design.

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Women to the fore of diversification

Dr Maura Farrell, senior lecturer in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies in University of Galway, says women are to the fore in diversifying Irish farms.

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Visibility Campaign

In a world where women play a crucial role in driving innovation, it is essential to recognise and amplify their contributions. The FLIARA project understands this significance and has launched a comprehensive campaign to enhance visibility and promote the achievements of women-led innovation in agriculture and rural areas. This article delves into the campaign’s objectives, strategies, and impact, highlighting the importance of empowering women in these sectors.

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As we embark on the next phase of the FLIARA Project, we are excited to share with you the upcoming milestones and focus areas that will shape our journey.

Looking Ahead: Our Next Steps

Our dedicated efforts will be directed towards defining and exploring sustainability innovations. We aim to uncover the transformative potential of these innovations and their significant contributions to sustainable farm and rural futures.

Building on our commitment to highlighting the achievements of women in agriculture and rural areas, we will be developing an inventory of female-led innovations. This comprehensive collection will provide valuable insights and support the selection of case studies, enabling us to showcase the remarkable work done by women in driving positive change.

FLIARA remains steadfast in its mission to recognise and empower women-led innovations within the agricultural and rural landscape. Our continuous efforts will contribute to fostering a more inclusive and sustainable future. Stay tuned for our next newsletter, where we will delve into these exciting endeavours and share the remarkable stories that unfold along our journey.

Funded by the European Union

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