Time to encourage women in ag

Time to encourage women in ag


Opinion
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At the national level women are more likely to hold the part-time positions in agriculture.

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OCTOBER 15 is International Day of Rural Women, a United Nations initiative recognising the contribution of rural women in enhancing agriculture and rural development.

In NSW, 27 per cent those employed in the agricultural sector are women, but only 13pc, or 6700 women are employed full time. A total of 12,500 women are employed on a part-time basis.

The figures are slightly lower than the national average where women make up 30pc.

Again, at the national level women are more likely to hold the part-time positions in agriculture, accounting for 59pc of those employed part-time.

This does not account for the multitude of women who work in and are integral to the success of family farming businesses.

However, the statistics show we have a way to go to encourage more women into a career in agriculture, but we're optimistic the statistics are going in the right direction.

Just take a look at NSW Farmers. It's pleasing to see an increasing number of women representing our association.

 For the first time in NSW Farmers' history, one third of its board is female, including Griffith irrigator Helen Dalton, Barmedman farmer Lisa Minogue and me.

Five of the association's committees are chaired by women who are championing the future of farming in their retrospective areas.

They include our dairy, oyster, rural affairs, grains and goats committees.

Most encouraging of all is our Young Farmers Committee, which is made up of 50pc female members. Women also make up 60pc of the association's workforce.

 Six of the association's regional team of eight are women, while the majority of NSW Farmers' policy team are female.

We're proud of the contribution women make to our association and hope to see more women getting involved in 2017.

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