National Farmers' Federation

Celebrating five years of disrupting agriculture’s ‘boys club’

At a special dinner in Canberra tonight agriculture celebrated five years of the NFF-led Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.

Established in 2018 the Program is changing the face of the farm sector’s leadership ranks, disrupting the ‘boys club’ that for so long dominated.

Underpinning this change is the commitment of the Program’s more than 30 partners, up from 8 in 2018, consisting of leading public, private and farmer-led organisations who are making meaningful change on gender equality.

The Program is the NFF’s flagship initiative working towards a goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030, based on 2018 figures.

“When I came to the helm of the NFF in late 2016, I became the first female President in its almost 40 year history. It was a disappointing fact, a completely unsurprising fact and one I was proud to disrupt,” Ms Simson said.

“The NFF wasn’t alone. The invisibility of women around the boardroom tables and the senior ranks of agriculture was blindingly clear. And, the strategic decisions taken about the future of farming and the bush, were poorer for it.”

Each year, the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program provides 12 women a five month intensive one-on-one mentoring opportunity.

“The concept of mentoring struck a chord. Our expectations were surpassed when more than 120 women applied to be a part of the very first intake. Interest in the Program continues to grow year on year,” Ms Simson said.

“Tonight, we herald the 41 women who I am so proud to call the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program alumni. Women with diverse skills and backgrounds, all with a vision for the future of Australian agriculture.

“The opportunity has put wind in the sails of this fabulous cohort, who are today, well and truly leaders: some serving on multi-national Boards; others dominating male-dominated fields; many steering their communities through natural disasters and other challenges and, all, role models for those coming after them,” Ms Simson said.

The Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program’s committed partners range from global agribusinesses to small representative organisations who are driving change through addressing the gender pay gap, improving parental leave, introducing Board quotas, providing more flexible workplaces, establishing dedicated breast feeding rooms and ensuring women are represented on recruitment panels.

At the celebratory dinner at the National Portrait Gallery, NFF CEO Tony Mahar spoke about the NFF’s 2030 aspiration for agriculture to be accessible industry for all.

“This is a big, multi-layered aspiration and not one the NFF can achieve on its own.

“Diversity encompasses far more than gender and far more than what is visible. It includes diversity of thought and experience. The NFF is working with our Program Partners and our Members to create an environment where all elements of diversity are supported and encouraged.

“Our actions today are setting up for a more inclusive and more accessible agriculture of the future,” Mr Mahar said.

Applications for the 2022 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program are open until 17 April 2022. Find out more here https://nff.org.au/programs/diversity-in-agriculture-leadership/

2022 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program
Committed Partners

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