International Day of Rural Women: celebrating their invaluable contributions


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This International Day of Rural Women, we once again pay tribute to the many incredible female figures spearheading the future of our agricultural industry. We are also encouraging our networks to shine a spotlight on the women who inspire them on a day-to-day basis.

Who’s a rural woman who inspires you and why? That’s the question we’re asking our community to answer, and we’re excited to share their responses with you over a series of videos we are sharing across our social media channels to mark the United Nation’s International Day of Rural Women.

This year, the theme for the International Day of Rural Women is ‘Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All’. Rural women are leading movements, advocating for more agroecological approaches and creating local strategies for crop diversity and improved soil, water and pest management that help households increase income and food security. It’s an important theme and an opportunity for us all to recognise the critical role rural women play to ensure food security for their communities, build climate resilience and strengthen economies.

Coupled with our hashtag, #hatsofftoruralwomen, we are encouraging you to get involved with our online campaign which recognises the powerful driving force behind our rural industries and communities.

The women who we are fortunate to be able to work with at AgriFutures Australia, are inspiring, passionate, resilient, positive and future thinking. They’re not all living in rural areas but they’re equally passionate about our futures and want to make sure our agricultural industry is as productive, sustainable, resilient and efficient as it can be.

Take for instance Elizabeth Frost. She’s co-managing Australia’s National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program (Plan Bee). Plan Bee will stabilise the Australian beekeeping industry by giving beekeepers the skills and knowledge to breed their own quality queens and enter the queen breeding sector. Since Elizabeth learnt that bees help produce 1/3 of our food, she’s made bees her career and is having significant positive impact on the industry.

Alice Moore, a tea tree extension officer hopes to make it easier for tea tree growers to access existing research. She is working with tea tree growers, oil producers and service providers to deliver industry-led extension activities that accelerate adoption of research and development. Until now the tea tree oil industry has not had a dedicated extension project. The industry has invested in research and development for many years however, the absence of a dedicated program has hindered the adoption and associated benefits of industry research and development outcomes. Alice’s position will change this.

And we also have our seven inspiring 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award State and Territory Winners. From Kelly Barnes who is establishing a working dog training school, to Amy Kirke, a marine biologist encouraging school kids to engage with science at school, the women driving positive changes across our industry are as inspirational as they come. Dedicating their own time and energy to better the lives and careers of others. We’ve been so grateful to share every step of their journeys.

These are just some of the names who come to mind when we think about whom to acknowledge on International Day of Rural Women. The United Nation’s aim of the Day is to recognise the contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

For all of these women mentioned above, it’s not just a job. Agriculture is their lifeblood. And if you’re fortunate enough to work with women like these, you know that they deserve the highest of praise and attention.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey said he’s very fortunate to be able to work with many incredible, female rural leaders at AgriFutures and has paid special tribute to our Chair.

“A rural woman who inspires me is our Chair at AgriFutures, Kay Hull.

“Kay has very much thrown her absolute support behind programs such as The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award which shine a spotlight on initiatives being driven by rural women. Anyone who meets Kay knows how passionate she is about rural industries and communities, and her energy and positivity is infectious.

“Our pledge is to continue to support women in agriculture to develop their leadership skills, experience and confidence.

So hats off to Kay Hull and hats off to rural women,” said Mr Harvey.

Join our campaign with a #hatsofftoruralwomen on your social networks or, share with us your videos answering the question: Who a rural woman who inspires you and why?

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