Women can shape industry

PROGRAM: Brondwen MacLean from the GRDC said the positive impacts of balanced representation across the industry were irrefutable. Picture: Supplied
PROGRAM: Brondwen MacLean from the GRDC said the positive impacts of balanced representation across the industry were irrefutable. Picture: Supplied

Women in the grains industry with an ambition to shape the future of Australia's food and fibre sector are encouraged to apply for the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) 2019 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is partnering with the NFF to support more women to be represented in key-decision making roles.

GRDC applied research and development executive manager Brondwen MacLean was an industry mentor in the program last year and said the positive impacts of balanced representation were clear.

"The evidence shows that the result of women being well represented and genuinely heard is a more productive, profitable work environment," she said.

"Women are a powerful force [and] comprise half the population, so it makes good business sense to support and empower women to reach their potential.

"When we do, all of society reaps the benefits."

Ms MacLean said she appreciated efforts to work towards fairer representation in key decision making roles.

"This program is about ensuring the agricultural industry has the very best input, leveraging off the intelligent and professional women we have across our sector," she said.

The very best industries have strong female representation across all aspects of business.

Brondwen MacLean

"The very best industries have strong female representation across all aspects of business.

"It is encouraging to see that agriculture is working toward achieving diversity and equality across the board."

NFF president Fiona Simson - the federation's first female president - said the success of last year's program demonstrated the appetite for women to pursue industry leadership.

She said like many industries, agriculture could do more to realise gender equality.

"Over generations, in line with societal change, women have forged careers in all agriculture-related fields from agronomy and education to finance and marketing.

“However, in the senior executive and board level ranks of many of the organisations I observe, there remains a lack of female voices."

The program provides applicants with a six-month one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to be a part of an alumni of female agriculture leaders.

Participants will work with their mentor to develop the skills and networks they need to realise their leadership ambitions.

Applicants must be 25 years or over to be eligible.

For more information visit www.farmers.org.au/campaign/diversity

Applications close on Monday, March 25.