Nearly 100 women from the New England region showed us there’s a real appetite to achieve greater equality for women in Australian agriculture at a recent Leadership on the Land symposium hosted by Achmea Australia.
The agriculture industry is a long way from closing its gender equity gap, where men comprise more than 97.7% of CEOs and earn more than their female counterparts. As the only female CEO in the Australian agricultural insurance industry, Achmea Australia’s CEO, Emma Thomas thinks it’s time for a change.
The grassroots discussion at the event sparked a ‘women in ag drought’ debate, challenging the current way of thinking while focusing on translating women’s education into a more equal workforce.
The Q&A session triggered a discussion about the 25% pay gap in agricultural leadership roles, the under-representation of women in key business roles, tackling entrenched community attitudes and the ongoing gender discrepancies in both the home and the workplace.
Emma spoke of her own experiences growing up on a New Zealand farm, the importance of strong role models, including her own grandmother who served as a ‘Land Girl’ during World War II, while discussing the need for ‘real change’ to address the barriers for women in agriculture.
“To bridge the pay gap and inspire our next generation of young leaders, meaningful cultural change is needed – women have a lot to offer in leadership roles and increased representation at a decision-making level is vital for the future success of this industry,” Mrs Thomas said.
Former Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) CEO, Tracey Hayes, also delivered her insights on women’s roles beyond the paddock.
Both Ms Thomas and Ms Hayes believe the unity displayed at events like this will help shape the future of the sector.