Just in time for International Rural Women’s Day, two Queensland women have carried the rural brand onto state and national stages overnight.
Longreach’s Joy McClymont was announced as the national #ActiveAchiever winner at Fitness Australia’s awards dinner at Royal Randwick racecourse on Friday night, while central Queensland environmental consultant Patrice Brown received Queensland’s Telstra Business Woman entrepreneur award.
In true Joy McClymont style, Joy bounced across the stage as if about to deliver one of her pacy 30 second workouts, to receive her award.
The personal trainer who lives on a property many miles west of Longreach with her husband and four children, has developed her Off the Track Training fitness business for isolated people since starting a Friday afternoon exercise session at her workplace at Evesham State School, and has built up a huge following.
Queensland Country Life reported on her announcement as Fitness Australia’s Queensland winner, and her hope that it would mean the efforts being made by people in her program get recognition too, which she reiterated in her acceptance speech on Friday night.
“I take this as a representative for all the people I train, to see the possible beyond the impossible,” she said.
“They lack resources, don’t have gyms, have a lifestyle that is hugely demanding on their time, and they manage to see the resourcefulness within themselves.
“That is hugely empowering for me.”
She added that she had been hugely supported by a lot of people, including her husband Paul, and the other members of the Off the Track Training team.
The announcement was hugely popular back in her hometown of Longreach, with congratulations pouring in on Facebook, such as “Heartiest congratulations Joy. I KNEW you were gonna get it - you SOOOO deserve it! Very proud of our little 'go-er' xx,” from Suey Smith, and “All your hard work is paying off Joy. Congratulations!” from Mandy Curran.
Queensland Entrepreneur of the Year
In Brisbane on Friday night, woman raised on one of central Queensland’s brigalow ballot blocks and educated by correspondence received the Entrepreneur Award at the 2016 Queensland Telstra Business Women’s awards.
As reported by Queensland Country Life, Patrice Brown is a director on the CQUniversity Council and on the Gladstone Area Water Board, and is a founding director/owner of two start-ups, Northern Ventures, a company that supports Aboriginal groups to achieve economic independence, and Fortitude Infrastructure Development, a company formed to deliver green technologies.
Being in the unique position of having grown up on the land and working in the environmental space with groups such as UNESCO, she hoped that being a Telstra finalist would give her a voice to say, “don’t forget about this part of the jigsaw puzzle”.
She also hoped her award would give confidence to young women from small country schools.
“They are educated in a supportive environment that you don’t get in the city,” she said. “And you have to take risks to get ahead. You hit the streets running.”
International Day of Rural Women
Today is the United Nations’ declared International Day of Rural Women - a day to recognise rural women and celebrate the contribution that women make to agriculture and regional development.
Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the Coalition government was proud to back rural and regional women in their efforts to build stronger regional, rural and remote communities.
“Women in rural Australia are leaders, and I’m committed to getting more of them into parliament.
“Rural women are professionals, they are innovators. Rural women are known for their determination, resilience and positivity as well as their ability to turn challenges into opportunities and to think outside the box to find solutions.
“Without rural women, rural, regional and remote Australia would grind to a halt.
“Our city cousins would have no cereal in their breakfast bowls, no milk to put on their cereal, no salad at lunch and no meat at dinner.
“The roll-out of the nbn along with the Sky Muster satellite will allow many rural women to start online businesses and undertake tertiary education via distance.”
Minister for Women Senator Michaelia Cash said International Day of Rural Women was a time to reflect on the strong leadership of Australian women and reiterated that the government is determined to ensure the talents and hard work of rural women is recognised and supported.
“The Coalition government aims to empower rural women, so that they can have the same opportunities as their male counterparts through boosting women’s workforce participation and ensuring their economic security.”
Research shows that women in rural areas have some of the highest rates of workforce participation of all Australian women over age 35.
“We are committed to removing barriers to ensure a strong economic future for all Australian women including those who live in rural communities.”
The United Nations established International Day of Rural Women in 2007.
The day recognizes the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.