The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has partnered with the Queensland Government through the Investing in Queensland Women grant program to develop an easy-to-use toolkit to support the financial preparedness and security of farm businesswomen.
Launched today, the e-kit ‘Walking the Wire: Strengthening the financial security of rural agribusiness women’, aims to raise awareness and provide a catalyst for positive change, identifying the questions to be asked, the assistance, services and resources needed and the considerations that every woman and family business in the agricultural sector should consider.
QFF CEO Ms Jo Sheppard, said the resource is bespoke and has been designed ‘by rural women for rural women’ and works to address the unique and complex circumstances that farm businesswomen face.
“We have many talented and courageous women in Queensland agriculture, and it has been humbling to hear their stories.”
“Throughout the development of this e-Kit, we spoke to many women in agribusiness, and we have been inspired by their dedication and their success stories. There are many examples of women contributing vision and skillsets to farm businesses that have opened new opportunities and diversified industry offerings.”
“Yet we also heard many tales of sadness, loss and inequity that genuinely moved all involved in the project.”
“The financial insecurity of farm businesswomen is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the sector requires structural and regulatory changes, particularly regarding the treatment of off-farm income which often maintains the family and the business during difficult times.”
“Business structures often favour male successors over female, leaving women (particularly those marrying into a farming family) with no or a limited voice in the business or decision making.”
Statistics on the financial security of women in the rural sector, or lack thereof, only scratch the surface of a very complex and frequently overlooked issue. Some of the issues that impact on the financial security of rural and farm businesswomen include relationship complications (i.e., separation, divorce or domestic violence); family transition and succession; family and business communication; complex business structures; business knowledge and understanding; and financial and legal literacy.
“Farm businesses are a complex mix of family and business dynamics, and communication is key.”
“It was disappointing to learn from the women we spoke to that they felt they weren’t being included in farm business discussions and heard or validated by business advisors when they sought advice.”
“Our hope is that this e-kit will support farm women to better lead and contribute to these important conversations.”
Walking the Wire provides direction about which questions to ask, what issues to be aware of, and where to find further information, education and obtain initial advice. It aims to provide guidance to help rural women take the next step in securing their financial future, particularly where they may have had difficulty prioritising their own financial security in the past.
The Walking the Wire e-kit is available at www.qff.org.au/resources.