There are few industries which owe so much to the contribution of women as Australian agriculture.
The central role of women from the earliest days of white settlement in carving one of the world’s largest agricultural economies out of the scrub was acknowledged by AgForce’s first female General President Georgie Somerset.
However, Georgie said despite their prodigious contribution on farm, women were severely under-represented in the senior ranks and around the board tables.
“Women have always and continue to contribute significantly to the agricultural industry from the manual labour, to business management and policy development,” Georgie said.
“There is no denying, however, that industry needs to do more to ensure that we have greater representation of women not only in the paddock but also in the board room.”
Women produce 49% of the real farm income in Australia*, but these statistics from the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) 2030 Roadmap make for stark reading:
- 41% of the agricultural workforce is made up by women
- 18% in management roles
- Only 2.3% of CEO positions
“This is a critical day for industry in recognising and acknowledging gender equality as an important issue to continue to drive and drive hard.
“Women are not stepping into leadership roles for their particular industry as much as I would like to see, so at AgForce it will be a focus of mine over the next couple of years to have more women come through, particularly in the commodity specific roles.”
Georgie said it was also important for women to find their own voice.
“There are so many opportunities in ag, it’s finding the bit you’re comfortable with. I came into my role in agriculture thinking I would be a partner in the business and actively making decisions.
“I think it is how you frame it as well and it’s actually stepping into the space and knowing what you have to offer.
“At AgForce we need to continue to push to show leadership in terms of how we act and operate, our openness and ability to talk and work genuinely in recognising the opportunity we and industry have and to redouble our efforts in accelerating progress toward true equality.
“This year we are proud to be a partner in the NFF’s Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, providing skills for women to more actively participate in leadership roles across our industry.
“At AgForce we are committed to showing leadership in terms of how we act and operate, our openness and ability to talk and work genuinely in recognising the opportunity we and industry have, and to redouble our efforts in accelerating progress toward greater balance.
“We are more powerful together, men and women, working together to advance sustainable agribusiness.”
/Public Release. View in full here