Raising the profile of women in agriculture

“They wanted a way to raise the profile of women in farming and be seen to be equal partners in the community at government level and also in their own businesses.”

A valued rural community that is connected, resilient and vibrant – this is the vision of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture, a voluntary organisation committed to connecting, supporting and celebrating women involved in agriculture around the state.

The organisation, now in its 22nd year, has no age limit and is open to any woman in Tasmania who has an interest in agriculture - whether it is through maintaining a herb garden on their balcony, or owning several acres of land and running sheep.

Executive member Bev Phelan said the organisation gives women a network they can utilise to get together and learn, develop personally and socialise. The organisation was started by a group of farming women united in their isolation.

"The first get together was at Scottsdale, and out of that get together there were a group of women who felt a sense of camraderie and purpose," she said. "They wanted a way to raise the profile of women in farming and be seen to be equal partners in the community at government level and also in their own businesses.”

Ms Phelan says that the idea of women in agriculture is evolving, and that the organisation aims to raise their profile and champion their work in rural communities.

“I think the idea of women in agriculture has really evolved over the last 50 years,” she said. “Women have always been actively involved in the farm business, but I think that although they have valued their roles, sometimes the wider community or society hasn’t recognized that a farmer can be a woman.”

“That’s what we’re about - encouraging and empowering women to reach their full potential.”

The Tasmanian Women in Agriculture stall is exhibit number S55 on South Street, and is selling a book called “A Place in the Stockyard”. The book tells the story of several Tasmanian women and their experiences in the farming industry, and would make a great gift for this Mother’s Day!