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19 August, 2020

QFF to prioritise women in agriculture

THE QUEENSLAND Farmer’s Federation (QFF) will this month prioritise the training and development of women in agriculture, following a report released by QFF and Griffith University.

By Edwina Watson RURAL LEADER JOURNALIST

The report follows a research project that aimed to identify initiatives that would encourage more women to take up leadership roles in the State’s agriculture sector.

QFF CEO, Dr Georgina Davis, said while many women were active both economically and in leadership roles on-farm, the research identified limited support structures generally.

“Women’s expertise is critical in maintaining and developing agricultural businesses.

“However there is considerable work to be done to ensure farm businesswomen receive the recognition they deserve” Dr Davis said.

“Farm businesswomen are mentors, spokespeople and advocates, and they are participating on committees or boards in agriculture while managing farm activities, family, location and community.”

“Women are also active in value adding to existing businesses and developing new commercial opportunities within farms” Dr Davis said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said last year a total of 318 600 people were employed within agriculture, forestry and fishing, 33 per cent of whom were women.

The Bureau said women represented 29 per cent of those working in sheep, beef and grain farming, 44 per cent of those working in nursery and floriculture production, and 40 per cent of the total ‘other livestock farming’ workforce.

Dr Davis said many women wanted to expand their roles and importantly, be recognised for their work as business owners, innovator and agripreneurs.  

“The report findings indicate there is a need to analyse current training and development opportunities, to identify gaps and ensure opportunities are accessible in order to support women in achieving their aspirations” Dr Davis said.

Lead Researcher, Dr Susan Ressia, of the Griffith Business School, said women in the sector had complex working lives and any future leadership support programs needed to account for them.

“Women take on a range of responsibilities to keep the farm going. Women are book keeping, volunteering in the community, raising families and sometimes working off the farm to bring in extra income” Dr Ressia said.

“We must establish a range of support measures tailored to the women juggling multiple responsibilities.

“They need more support to help them realise their potential” Dr Ressia said. 


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