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International Day of Rural Women

15 October 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the United Nations’ declared International Day of Rural Women and encourages all Australians to join with them in recognising the enormous contribution that women make to agriculture and their communities.

NFF Vice President Fiona Simson said women play a key role in every aspect of rural Australia, in rural communities and in agriculture, working on farm, running the farm business, providing a second income and as industry leaders.

“It is estimated that one third of Australian women live in rural and regional communities and 40 per cent of Australian farmers are women,” Ms Simson said.

“Women in the agriculture sector display strong leadership at all levels. They are making important decisions about the big issues facing agriculture and are taking on key roles in the farm business and local communities.

“It is vitally important that the strong leadership of women in the agriculture sector is recognised in planning and policy at a national level. The national gender-pay gap is 17.9 per cent indicating that as a nation, this is something that we need to improve.

“The sustainable, vibrant and productive future of Australian agriculture and rural communities is linked to the contribution of its women.”

The theme for the 2015 International Day of Rural Women is the need for peace all over the world.

“Finding peace for our international counterparts is a key priority. Women grow half of the world’s food and represent 43 per cent of the agriculture labour force in developing countries, primarily through the institution of the family farm as unpaid and unrecognised farmers,” Ms Simson said.

“Despite the enormous contribution of women to agriculture worldwide, many face significant barriers to accessing land and finance.

“In 26 of 143 countries, statutory inheritance laws differentiate between men and women. This increases the vulnerability of women to poverty and food insecurity, and means that they have limited access to resources and credit, increasing their dependency on men to secure their livelihood.

“Exclusion from education and training is a further barrier for women in many countries, inhibiting their ability to take on leadership roles in their communities and in agriculture.

“It is important that we empower our leaders and the next generation of women to overcome these barriers, leading to a more secure, strong and sustainable agricultural workforce.”

The United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of women in agriculture and reflect on the role that women play in achieving a vibrant and diverse agriculture sector.

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