Statement in response to derogatory comments made about women in farming

STATEMENT from the Rural, Regional, Remote Women’s Network of Western Australia

 The Rural, Regional, Remote Women’s Network of Western Australia (RRR Network) was thrilled to see that, on International Women’s Day, The West Australian Newspaper (via the Kalgoorlie Miner) published a story titled  “Tradie daughters follow fathers into their world of work” –  https://thewest.com.au/news/kalgoorlie-miner/tradie-daughters-follow-fathers-into-their-world-of-work-ng-b88763755z

We applaud the publication of this positive story coming for the WA regions.   The RRR Network is however deeply disappointed with the comments attributed to the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Esperance CCI) which, as quoted in the news article include: “Traditionally, Esperance has been difficult for young women to get a career in, because it is an agricultural background, you could either be a farmer’s wife or something like that,”

The Esperance region is one of Australian’s most successful farming communities.   The farm businesses in the region are innovative, progressive, successful and, most importantly, often managed as a family partnership.  CBH Group report that in 2017/18 the Esperance Zone achieved a record-breaking harvest with 2.83 million tonnes of grain delivered to them.  The Esperance CCI’s own website states that Esperance’s gross regional product is approximately $1.3 billion which is attributed to 28% agriculture; 13% mining; 8% tourism.

 The idea that the agriculture sector does not offer valuable, vibrant careers is simply wrong.  The idea that young women can only aspire to be a “farmer’s wife” if they choose to work in agriculture is highly offensive.  It is offensive to women and to the agriculture sector.

The Invisible Farmer project ( https://invisiblefarmer.net.au/ ) estimates that women produce at least 49% of real farm income in Australia and,  despite making up half the agricultural workforce in Australia, women are significantly under-represented and undervalued in positions of rural leadership and decision making.  The views attributed to the Esperance CCI highlight why.

CONTACT:           Jackie Jarvis;  CEO – The RRR Network    Phone 0417 998 755 

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