Dartmouth Fatstock: Sexism row over men-only awards dinner

Women and prizes at the farming show
Image caption Women are awarded prizes at a ceremony in the afternoon but not at the evening dinner

Women in farming have called on a men-only awards dinner "to get with the times" and allow them to attend.

The Dartmouth Fatstock Show in Devon, which sees farmers compete for the best cattle, sheep and poultry, has run for more than 100 years.

Show chairman, Phil Bond, said the men-only evening dinner was "a tradition and how it has always been done".

Farmer Chloe Quantick said: "They need to stop being a bit sexist and let us in there."

The current system sees prizes distributed to men and women at an afternoon ceremony, before the men's awards are presented for a second time at a hotel dinner.

This year's event took place on Tuesday.

Image caption Debbie Morris was told a man would have to represent her at the show when she was mayor of Dartmouth

The show committee recently held a vote and decided to maintain the exclusion of women - one farmer resigned in protest and said his pleas for change were "shouted down".

Mr Bond said: "That's the tradition, that's the way it always has been done. I've got the support and the backing from the committee to carry on.

"If in the future that changes as a democracy or as a vote within the committee that will carry on."

He said he believed "ladies are really not bothered" and he would rather keep out of the "petty argument of it all".

The Dartmouth Young Farmers Association currently has more female than male members, and there are four women on the show committee of 17.

Jessica Perry, a committee member, said the female ban was "very outdated now".

"It would be nice if we could move with the 21st Century," she said. "But that's something that as a group and as a committee the Fatstock show will have to discuss and hopefully move with the times."

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Media captionFatstock show chairman Phil Bond says women are 'not bothered' about a men-only dinner

Ms Quantick, who won two championships at this year's show, said: "I think they should get with modern times and let the women come.

"They need to stop being a bit sexist and let us in there, because we can have a good laugh just as much as men can, so in my opinion we should be allowed to go."

Debbie Morris said there was no exception to the rule even when she was mayor of Dartmouth, when she was told a male representative would have to attend in her place.

She described it as an "old tradition" and said: "They like to have a raucous evening. Perhaps they feel the ladies wouldn't approve."

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