Women in Australian Agriculture are paving the way

I feel fortunate that in my career so far in agriculture and more broadly in rural Australia, I’ve been surrounded by extraordinary people, many women, who have challenged and supported me. Our industry is a special place but we can do more to progress, and we all have a role to play.

Achieving gender equality and empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do but it is fundamental to us addressing some of the biggest challenges of our time.

According to the Department of Agriculture ABARES figure, it is estimated that women comprise approximately 32 per cent of the workers in Australian agriculture.

I thought this International Day of Rural Women I’d take a look back at a few of the people who have helped shape Humans of Agriculture and whose stories are redefining rural Australia.

Georgie began working remotely in 1989, carting her fax machine across the country in order to perform her roles. Georgie’s current roles are immense, beyond the family farming business she also is involved as the President of AgForce QLD, a Director of the ABC and Director of Royal Flying Doctors Service (QLD division).

“I used to go back to Brisbane, probably every week or other week, because I thought you had to be visible.” Georgie said

Georgie acknowledges that reliable internet plays a key part in achieving the flexibility of her work, and knows all too well that rural women have been working multiple roles for many years before her.

“I had a mother who could muster and do everything with us at any time [on the farm], but she also did an enormous amount of community work, did all our books, and taught us in the schoolroom.”

Georgie’s ability to transcend the agricultural industry and challenge the status quo has not only paved the way for women, it’s fundamentally shifting societies expectations for how we work and where we can be involved.

For Amanda Moohen, it wasn’t the study at the University of New England that was her biggest challenge. Finding a job and entering the industry post study proved quite the challenge.

“At uni they were like, be careful, choose your career path very carefully as you leave because when I was coming in, it was probably 30 percent women 70 percent men.”

Whilst it was a rocky road initially, Amanda found her groove and it was the next generation of industry leaders who provided the mentorship and support to accelerate Amanda’s personal and career growth.

“I’m so grateful for Bryce Camm believing in me and pushing me,” she said, “and we went through a lot there, you know, we went through my full career progression within feedlotting, from weighbridge admin to fill-up manager.”

Today, Amanda finds herself as Regional Manager – Intensive with Australian Agricultural Company. She is another one not just paving the way for women through founding the Women in Lot Feeding organisation, she’s championing the next generation of industry leaders.

Closer to home, many of my closest friends from rural Australia have had daughters, and in fact I’ll be an uncle to a niece in the coming weeks. For them and for society, I am confident that we will be the first generation to achieve gender equity.

What inspires me most about it, we already have the women who have been paving the way and I believe Australian agriculture has the people to champion it and to set a standard for the rest of society.

Here at Humans of Agriculture, we’re pretty excited that on our latest count when it came to people sharing their stories, we had a 51% / 49% split – women and men respectively.

Published by Oli Le Lievre

Oli is the Founder and creator of Humans of Agriculture. He's passionate about celebrating the diverse and vast opportunities in agriculture, one story at a time.

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