Sisters are doing it for themselves in ag

Sisters are doing it for themselves in ag

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Farm Weekly journalists Mollie Tracey and Shannon Beattie at this year's Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.

Farm Weekly journalists Mollie Tracey and Shannon Beattie at this year's Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.

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There will come a time when there is no need for an International Day of Rural Women, but Australia is still a while away from that (today is the International Day of Rural Women).

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THERE will come a time when there is no need for an International Day of Rural Women, but Australia is still a while away from that (today is the International Day of Rural Women).

The industry has come a long way since 1994 when women were finally allowed to list 'farmer' as their legal status, before that they were instead called 'silent partners', 'domestics', 'helpmates' and 'farmers' wives".

You'd be hard pressed to meet a female farmer these days who hasn't been referred to as one of those former terms, but have men ever been referred to as 'farmer's husbands'?

It's not just on farms that gender disparity still occurs in agriculture - it's evident in most, if not all, sectors and across all levels.

That's why it's important to recognise and even celebrate when a woman makes it to the top - whether it's running the farm or a multi-million dollar company.

Women have been, and still are, subjected to negative attitudes that affect their ability to embark on a career in agriculture, which begin at an early age.

Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2016 found that women comprised 32 per cent of the country's agricultural industry, however they provide 84pc of off-farm income and do more unpaid domestic work than men and also more than women not involved in agriculture.

The same data found that men had a more dominant presence in all agricultural sectors, with women making up less than 30pc of sheep, beef and grain farmers.

Education is also a limiting factor for women in agriculture, with 53pc of women having no recognised non-school qualifications, 17pc have certificates and 14pc have bachelor degree qualifications.

This compares to just 8pc of men in agriculture having no non-school qualifications.

However, this has begun to change as more women have been obtaining qualifications.

By 2016, the number of women with non-school qualifications rose by 23pc over five years.

While attitudes towards women in agriculture have been improving, there are still gaps and it's still not an even playing field for men and women wanting to excel in their career.

So, today we are sharing stories of women who have defied the odds handed to them by the patriarchy - who have smashed goals and followed their dreams.

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