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Recognising Australia's rural women on World Rural Women's Day

The Rudd Government acknowledged the hard work and talent of Australian women working and living in rural areas, ahead of the 14th UN World Rural Women’s Day tomorrow (15 October 2009).

The Government also announced the second round of applications is open for grants under the Recognising Women Farmers program.

More than 70 groups have already shared in $2.8 million in funding under the program, to help more rural women take up leadership roles and strengthen their leadership skills.

Previous grants have supported women in a broad range of industries, including in the veterinary, grain, sugar, dairy, seafood, cherries, horticulture, grains, agritourism and cattle industries.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said rural women in Australia played a vital role in food production, including in agriculture and fisheries, natural resource management and the forestry sector.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, around 85,000 Australian women are directly employed in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

“This is another opportunity to pay tribute to the essential role of women in rural businesses and communities, but also to recognise that more work needs to be done,” Mr Burke said.

“Women still occupy less than 20% of paid management and board positions in the agricultural sector and we continue working to improve that level of representation.

“In 18 months we have increased the representation of women on our rural research and development corporation boards from 20% to more than 40% and that work is on-going.”

Other Rudd Government initiatives to support rural women include:
- $75,000 for the annual Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation National Rural Women’s Awards,
- $50,000 for a new mentoring project for women living in rural and remote areas.

by S. C.
15 october 2009, World News > Oceania