WHEN Bronnie Taylor opens the Nimmitabel Show this weekend she’ll be the first woman to do so in at least a decade - potentially doubling, as The Land has been told, the number of women to perform the task in the event’s 115-year history.
But while she’s stoked to give rural women a face at her local show arena, the Upper House Nationals MP reckons the men of state politics should take note.
She said it was time for the men in all parties - including her own - to acknowledge lop-sided representation and do something about it.
“The female representation in parliament is absolutely not representative of the population, and I think there are a lot of issues behind that,” she said.
She stopped short of backing a quota system for parliament but said attitudes undoubtedly needed to change.
“You can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Women need to be championed and encouraged for these opportunities. They need to feel like they can step forward and have the support.”
Mrs Taylor, a parliamentary secretary for Southern NSW, said young rural women in particular faced challenges to enter parliament, saying many were conditioned to believe they would struggle if they chose to balance family, work, and travel requirements.
“But look at people like (fellow Upper House Nat and mother-of-two) Sarah Mitchell, who is an absolute legend. If you’ve got support from your leaders and the people around you, it can be done.”
Combining both Lower and Upper houses, 37 of 135 NSW state parliamentarians are women – just over 27 per cent.
NSW Labor has 17 female MPs out of 46 (37 per cent), the Liberal party 11 from 49 (22pc), the Nationals five from 23 (22pc), and the Greens four from eight (50pc).
Grassroots Nationals members also voted overwhelmingly in favour of equal female representation on their Central council during their 2016 state conference.