In Queensland, more than half of all women working in agriculture are employed as farmers or farm managers, and they contribute 33 per cent of all on-farm income. Women also play a major role in contributing to day-to-day living and farm survival through their off-farm earnings, which is estimated to contribute $2,715 million or 84 per cent of all off-farm income. Women’s work and expertise are therefore critical in maintaining and developing agricultural businesses. However, there is considerable work to be done to ensure farm businesswomen achieve the recognition they deserve.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) recently collaborated with Griffith University on a research project which aimed to identify initiatives that would encourage more women to take up leadership roles in the agriculture sector. The research identified that many women were active, both economically and in leadership roles on-farm. Farm businesswomen are being a mentor, a spokesperson or an advocate and participating on committees or boards while managing farm activities, family, location and community. However, the research identified a need to analyse training and development opportunities to identify gaps to assist women to achieving their aspirations.
To achieve our aim of diversity in agriculture, QFF has created a Leadership and Diversity in Agriculture Work Program. As part of this program, there are several subgroups tasked with investigating and identifying solutions for strengthening specific elements of diversity and leadership for the sector.
The Farm Businesswomen Working Group, created to ensure the practical application of the findings of the research report, held its inaugural meeting last week. This group will continue to meet and strive towards finding solutions for the challenges that women in agriculture face. Additionally, QFF’s Forward Farming Program will be delivered to a female cohort to build the skills and knowledge they need to plan and manage a sustainable farm business while a Cultural Awareness Training: Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities webinar is also planned, for information, contact QFF. Diversity in the workplace, and the broader agricultural sector, is vital for employees and employers, building a great reputation through to increased profitability and opportunities for workers.