Agricultural women to the fore

Agricultural women to the fore

OPINION
News
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Women provide an important contribution across the state's agriculture sector.

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In Queensland, more than half of all women working in agriculture are employed as farmers or farm managers, and they contribute 33 per cent of all on-farm income. Women also play a major role in contributing to day-to-day living and farm survival through their off-farm earnings, which is estimated to contribute $2715 million or 84 per cent of all off-farm income. Following International Day of Rural Women last week, we recognise the important contribution that women across the state's agriculture sector provide.

Under the theme "Rural women cultivating good food for all", the International Day celebrates the heroes in the food systems of the world and encourages that we foster equal opportunities for all. Women play a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing. They account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, including informal work, perform the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work within families and households, while also making significant contributions to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.

However, women still face discrimination in many cases when it comes to land and livestock ownership, equal pay, participation in decision-making entities, and access to resources. Research by the Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) earlier this year identified financial insecurity as a significant issue for farm businesswomen. With support from the Queensland government's Investing in Queensland Women grants program, QFF's Farm Businesswomen Working Group is creating an easy-to-use 'package' for family businesses to assist with business transition and planning, to ensure farm women are financially aware and prepared.

Women are also active in diversifying, innovating and value adding to existing farm businesses, developing new commercial opportunities within farms or initiating new business ventures, particularly where they bring skills and knowledge from other sectors. Many women indicate that they want to expand their roles and undertake opportunities that will help them realise their leadership potential. To address these gaps and assist women in achieving their agricultural aspirations, we must further conversation around what inclusion and inclusive leadership looks like for Queensland's agricultural sector. More talented women in leadership positions can only strengthen our sector and our state.

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