Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

International Day of Rural Women 2010

The Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis has said that the International Day of Rural Women 2010 is a chance for all Australians to reflect on the important work and achievements of rural women.

The International Day of Rural Women was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2007 and directs attention to the work of women make in rural areas and the challenges they face.

“Today recognises the critical role of rural women in enhancing Australia’s agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty,” Ms Ellis said.

“Rural women make a tremendous contribution to Australia’s economy and to our 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, with a large number of Australian women running and operating the family farm.

“The Australian Government has a strong commitment to regional Australia and is determined to ensure that the talent and hard work of rural women is recognised and supported,” Ms Ellis said.

In March this year, the Australian Government announced a contribution of $600,000 over three years to create and administer the National Rural Women’s Coalition and Network.

The National Rural Women’s Coalition and Network is one of the Australian Government’s six Women’s Alliances and represents a number of member organisations including the Country Women’s Association.

The Coalition is developing a strategy which will utilise new media tools like Facebook and Twitter to help rural women connect, share information and participate in discussions about the issues that matter to them.

Ms Ellis said that the Australian Government also has a role to play in supporting the interests of rural women across the world.

Early next year the UN Commission for the Status of Women will conduct its 55th session, in New York. The Commission will focus on women’s and girls’ access to and participation in education, training, science and technology, including the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.

“We are seeking applications from community sector representatives to participate in the official Australian Government delegation to the meeting,” Ms Ellis said.

“Next year’s theme is particularly relevant to women from rural, regional and remote areas and I strongly encourage them to apply.”

Applications and informal submissions from community sector representatives close on 5 November.

Information about this opportunity and about providing suggestions for the official delegation can be found at FaHCSIA website.