THE National Farmers Federation is celebrating International Women’s Day with the launch of the mentoring initiative — Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program – promoting it as a new pathway to leadership for women in agriculture.
The NFF’s first female and current president Fiona Simson said women have been the backbone of farming since agriculture began in our nation.
“However, the fact remains, female representation on farm is not matched in the senior ranks and around the board tables of our farm representative organisations and agribusinesses,” she said.
“To work towards correcting this, the Federal Government and leading agribusinesses have teamed up with the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) to effect transformational change.
“Today, we are calling on women over 25 years of age, who have already began their leadership journey, to apply be a part of a one-on-one mentoring program.”
Ms Simson said successful program mentorees, with their mentor, will identify their leadership goals, outline steps to achieving these goals and, and put in place steps to measure progress towards these goals.
“Graduates of the program will go on to be a part of a valuable alumni of skilled female leaders with aspirations to apply their leadership skills across our agricultural sector.
“A key element of the Diversity in Ag Leadership Program, is a commitment by our Partners to achieving meaningful change towards increased gender diversity,” Ms Simson said.
“As the first female President of the NFF, I am passionate about ensuring the many, many women that make up our sector, have equal opportunity to realise their ag leadership goals.
“I hope you can join with the NFF and our Partners in supporting our efforts to even the gender ledger in the leadership ranks of agriculture.”
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, urged all Australians to use International Women’s Day as an opportunity to highlight the significant contributions of Australia’s inspiring rural women to the nation’s agriculture sector.
“Our rural women across the country are playing a key role in supporting the productivity and profitability of Australian agriculture.
“In addition to those working and managing our agriculture farms and businesses on the ground, we have a number of notable women providing leadership across our agricultural sectors,” Ms Ruston said.
Ms Ruston said Fiona Simson has made an outstanding contribution to our $60 billion agriculture sector and has been an inspiration as the first female president in the NFF’s 37-year history.
“Jane Lovell, inaugural CEO of Seafood Industry Australia, has brought a wealth of agricultural and fisheries experience to her new role for Australia’s $2.8 billion seafood industry.
“I would also like to recognise the importance of initiatives like the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards, which are another opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of rural women both to agriculture and their communities, and support their future successes,” Ms Ruston said.
“Now in its fourth year, the Country to Canberra initiative is another program that empowers year 10 to 12 female students from regional areas to embark on life changing experiences and mentorships.
“The calibre of women working throughout the agriculture sector sets a wonderful example to the female leaders and farmers of the future,” she said.
“Rural women, underpinned by their sheer work ethic and merit, should have no limits placed on their potential.”
Aspiring female leaders have until April 12 2018 to apply to the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program. Click here for more details and to apply.