Recognising outstanding women on International Rural Women’s Day

15 October 2021
  • International Day of Rural Women is observed on 15 October each year.
  • Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud today virtually attended the Graduation of the 2021 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.

This International Day of Rural Women the Australian Government is celebrating women who continue to provide outstanding leadership to the agriculture sector.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia said from the earliest days of Australian agriculture, women were working, innovating, and playing a pivotal role in developing the sector into what it is today.

“Women have always been integral to working on the land,” Minister Littleproud said.

“They were key in bringing services to the bush. The Country Women’s Association was formed in 1922 and brought health services to the bush. The School of the Air, established in 1952, and the Landcare movement of the 1980s, were also developed by women.

“We know this hasn’t always been acknowledged or appreciated. It was only in 1994 that Australian women were finally allowed to list their legal status as ‘farmer’ in the census.

“Women continue to play a critical role in agriculture and regional Australia.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has provided major disruptions, but, if anything, it has demonstrated again the ingenuity of the Australian agriculture sector.

“The Australian Government has significantly invested in initiatives for all Australians to access education and training in agriculture and related fields, initiatives such as the Job Ready Graduates program and JobTrainer.

“Since I became agriculture Minister women’s representation across agriculture portfolio boards has increased from 38% to 50%. Of these, women hold 39% of chair or deputy chair positions.

“The Australian Government’s recent announcement of 60 successful organisations to be funded under the Women’s Leadership and Development Program includes support for women in regions.

“This includes $850,000 for Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s (RRR) Network to create pathways for women in Queensland RRR communities into non-traditional and emerging tech-based and flexible employment opportunities in areas such as agri-tech.

“On International Rural Women’s Day, I am grateful to be able to attend and congratulate the 11 graduates of the 2021 National Farmers’ Federation Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.

“It is my honour to be able to recognise the extraordinary contributions of rural women.

“The graduates and winners prove that women continue to be at the forefront of ingenuity and innovation in the agriculture sector.”

Fast Facts:

  • With the support of the Australian Government, the National Farmers’ Federation Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program leadership program has been connecting women with one-on-one mentoring and personal development opportunities since 2018.
  • On 30 June 2021, women held 50% of agriculture portfolio boards
  • It is the highest overall result in the agriculture portfolio since gender balance reporting began in 2009.