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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Supporting rural women on International Women’s Day

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator for Queensland

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, today said it is important for Australians to acknowledge the vital role women play in primary industries and rural communities.

“A 2009 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation report estimated the total on farm contribution by women in agriculture was valued at more than $8.5 billion,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Of course, a dollar figure cannot fully express the contributions and value that is added by women working in Australian agriculture.

“Today is a chance to champion the economic, social and political achievements of women. It’s a day to recognise accomplishments, but also to reflect on progress that is still to be made.”

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, today stressed that we must celebrate the enormous contribution that rural women make to Australia’s economy and their local communities. “Research shows that women in rural areas have the highest rate of workforce participation of all Australian women aged over 35. One in four rural women is self employed, and many Australian women are running and operating successful farms and rural businesses,” Minister Ellis said. “The Gillard Government is determined to ensure that the talent and hard work of women in rural, remote and regional Australia are recognised, supported and celebrated – particularly on International Women’s Day.”

In 2009-10 the percentage of women appointments made to boards in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry portfolio increased by ten per cent from the previous year.

“Yet, it is concerning that in 2010 women still occupy less than 20 per cent of paid management and board positions across agriculture companies, RDCs, commodity councils and rural representative bodies. The Australian Government is determined to address this,” Minister Ludwig said.

“To give support for projects that build the leadership and representative capacity of women in primary industries, the government provides Recognising Women Farmers grants.

“I’m proud to be able to support organisations and projects which strengthen rural communities. Applications are now open for grants of up to $50 000.

“I am personally committed to ensuring that we continue to recognise the talent and diversity of women in our primary industries,” Minister Ludwig said.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 in Copenhagen. Every year since, organisations and individuals across the world have recognised the achievements of women and their contribution to society on 8 March.

Applications for Round 3 of the Recognising Women Farmers and Next Gen Farmers grants close on 28 March 2011. Visit www.daff.gov.au/cncb for more information.