Women’s work: essential to agricultural businesses
A NEW report has shown women's work and expertise are critical in maintaining and developing agricultural businesses and there is considerable work to be done to ensure farm businesswomen achieve the recognition they deserve.
Research carried out by the Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) and Griffith University aimed to identify initiatives that would encourage more women to take up leadership roles in the state's agriculture sector.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said while many women were active, both economically and in leadership roles on-farm, the research identified limited support structures generally.
"Farm businesswomen are carrying out leadership activities including mentoring, being a spokesperson or advocate and participating on committees or boards in agriculture while managing farm activities, family, location and community," Dr Davis said.
"Women are also active in value adding to existing businesses and developing new commercial opportunities within farms.
"Many women want to expand their roles and undertake opportunities that will help them realise their leadership potential, and importantly, be recognised for the role they play as business owners, innovators and agripreneurs.
"The report findings indicate there is a need to analyse current training and development opportunities, to identify gaps and ensure that these opportunities are accessible in order to support women in achieving their aspirations.
"Following on from this report, QFF's Diversity and Leadership Panel will work to identify and prioritise training and development needs, as well as the best mechanisms for delivery."
Lead researcher Dr Susan Ressia from the Griffith Business School says women in the sector have complex working lives and any future leadership support programs needed to account for them.
"Women take on a range of responsibilities to help manage and keep the farm going from book keeping, volunteering in the community, raising families and even working off the farm to bring in extra income," Dr Ressia said.
"To help achieve their leadership aspirations, we need to determine a range of support measures tailored to the women who are juggling these multiple responsibilities.
"They need more support to help them realise their potential."