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Industry steps up to fix ag’s 'woman problem'

8 March 2019

Women in agriculture with an ambition to shape the future of Australia’s food and fibre industry are invited to apply for the National Farmers’ Federation’s 2019 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.

For the second year in a row, the NFF is supported by a cohort of agriculture-focussed organisations committed to seeing more women represented in the industry’s key-decision making roles.

The Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program provides applicants with a six-month one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to be a part of an alumni of female agriculture leaders.

NFF President, Fiona Simson, the Federation’s first female president, said the success of last year’s program demonstrated the appetite women had to pursue industry leadership.

"In 2018 more than 120 skilled, passionate women applied to be a part of the program. Eight successful applicants were chosen, hailing from across the nation and taking in a range of interests and disciplines."

Ms Simson said like many industries, agriculture had ‘work to do’ to realise gender diversity and the benefits that flow.

"Women have been the pillar of Australia’s food and fibre production since farming began in this country. Over generations, women have forged careers in all agriculture-related fields from agronomy and education to finance and marketing.

"However, in the senior executive and board level ranks of many of the organisations I observe, there remains a lack of female voices.

"In fact, women comprise 41% of the agricultural workforce but only 18% of management roles and 2.3% of CEO positions."
Ms Simson said injecting the perspectives of females to the forums where strategic decisions were made was vital to the future growth of the industry.

"Diversity of gender represents a diversity of thoughts and perspectives. The NFF sees increasing the representation of women as key to achieving agriculture’s potential including reaching $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.

"That’s why we have included a target to double the number of women in agricultural management roles in our 2030 Roadmap."

The 2019 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program Partners include: AgForce, AgriFutures, Australian Agricultural Company, Australian Meat Processor Corporation, Bayer, Coles, Consolidated Pastoral Company, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Landmark, National Farmers’ Federation, NSW Farmers, NuFarm, Prime Super, Rabobank, Rimfire Resources, RuralCo, Rural Bank, Syngenta and WFI.

"I congratulate our Partners. They have stepped up and signed up to support our mission to even the ledger when it comes to female representation in agriculture.

"Our Partners are doing far more than talking about advancing women in our sector they are leading by example and they should be recognised for that," Ms Simson said.

Over the course of six months, Program participants will work with a specially matched mentor to develop the skills and networks they need to realise their leadership ambitions.

Successful 2019 applicants will also take part in a two-day Canberra leadership retreat during May and graduate in October as part of the NFF’s 40th Anniversary celebrations.

To be eligible for Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, applicants must be 25 years or over.

For full application guidelines and criteria visit farmers.org.au/campaign/diversity

Applications are now open and close on Monday 25 March.

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
P: 0408 448 250
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