Women in ag - it's up to us to take up the challenge

Women in ag - it's up to us!

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Women play a pivotal role in Australia's agricultural industry.

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There are few industries in Australia as appreciative of the contribution of women as farming.

From the earliest days, as we forged an agriculture industry out of an unforgiving landscape, women have played a pivotal role.

As a (relatively!) young producer, wife, and mother, it's great to see this amazing contribution being acknowledged.

I love learning about the achievements of those who have gone before and am grateful that their sacrifice has provided a much greater level of opportunity for the current generation.

But our industry still has a long way to go.

Unbelievably, according to a recent study, it is estimated that a mere 10 per cent of farm successors in Australia are daughters.

This is in spite of the significant contribution of women - NFF estimates we make up 41pc of the workforce and contribute 49pc of real farm income.

And when it comes to industry leadership, the numbers are even more worrying.

Women make up just 18pc of management roles and less than 3pc of CEO positions.

It's true that women are making inroads here.

For example, Queensland's two peak ag bodies - AgForce and QFF - have female presidents, as does the NFF at a national level.

But sometimes it seems that progress at the top level - where policies are developed, decisions made, industries advanced - is slow.

We definitely need to do more to ensure equal representation of women, not only in the paddock but in the board room.

We are more powerful together, men and women, working together to advance sustainable agribusiness. Research shows organisations that have more than 35pc women in leadership become more sustainable and more profitable.

The good news is, as individuals, women have more power to change the equations than it might appear.

Step outside your comfort zone every now and then, get involved in women in ag groups and events, discuss ideas with your peers, get a good mentor.

There are so many opportunities in ag - take them and 'own' them!

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