Our pledge to support women in ag take on leadership roles


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Mr Ric Clarke and Ms Mary Retallack

In what has been described as a ‘watershed moment’, 11 leading agricultural bodies have pledged to ensure more women take on leadership roles within their organisations.

AgriFutures Australia and 10 other leading bodies within the agricultural sector have pledged a commitment to support women in agriculture develop their leadership skills and take on positions of influence.

The pledges are a part of the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, led by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

President of the NFF, Fiona Simson said it’s a watershed moment for agriculture.

“It is an extremely powerful message delivered by these leading bodies within our industry.

“Government, agribusiness and farm representation bodies have made it clear: no longer are positions of influence and leadership in agriculture only the domain of men,” said Ms Simson.

The pledges deliver powerful messages and can be found on the Australian Farmers website.

AgriFutures Australia’s pledge:

Currently at AgriFutures Australia:

  • 42% of our Board members are women;
  • 50% of our leadership team are women;
  • 30% of our AgriFutures’ Advisory Panel members are women.

Our pledge is to support women in agriculture develop their leadership skills, experience and confidence and to work with our industry partners to facilitate their smooth transition into leadership roles including membership on AgriFutures Australia Advisory Panels.


AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey said the organisation is committed to improving gender diversity and said this goes beyond encouraging flexible working arrangements and building awareness about the issue.

“We are taking practical steps to ensure more women take on leadership roles and positions of influence.

“The Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program is an excellent practical step and we are proud to be involved as partners. Eight inspiring female leaders have been matched with mentors who will discuss their leadership goals and help guide them on their leadership journey,” said Mr Harvey.

One of the mentors is AgriFutures Australia Board member Mr Ric Clark. He has been matched with mentee Ms Mary Retallack who is a viticulturist and the Managing Director of Retallack Viticulture.

“The agricultural sector has a wealth of untapped talent and I’m honoured to be able to contribute to making meaningful change towards increasing gender diversity.

“It was a privilege to meet the eight women selected as mentees and to spend the day with them at Parliament House, celebrating the official launch of the Program. All the mentees are highly accomplished leaders in the agricultural sector and I look forward to helping my mentee take these skills to the next level,” said Mr Clark.

Mary Retallack, who was also the 2012 Rural Women’s Award winner, said she is looking forward to working with Mr Clark in the one-on-one mentoring program.

“I am looking forward to working with Ric throughout the mentoring program to reflect, set goals, fine tune my skills and identify leadership opportunities in agribusiness, advocacy, philanthropy, science and international development. It is a tailored professional development opportunity, and the next exciting step in my career,” said Ms Retallack.

Partners involved in the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program have committed to continually measure their progress towards increased gender diversity.

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