Women in agriculture: Tamworth leadership events in August

IF there are no women sat around the board table, does your business promote gender equality?

That’s the question Achmea Australia chief executive Emma Thomas will ask at women in agriculture events in Tamworth.

“Culturally there’s starting to be more awareness of the value women can bring in agriculture, in leadership positions they offer a different perspective,” she said.

“Women are just as qualified, if not more so and have a real empathy for livestock and supporting the decisions that need to be made to run the business more profitably.”

Still, women make up only 30 per cent of the agriculture industry in the country, Workplace Gender Equality Agency data shows.

While men hold a staggering 70 per cent of positions in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Supporting women in the workplace, offering opportunity where it’s due and assessing the talent pool without bias are some of the topics that will be covered at the workshops in Tamworth.

Former Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Tracey Hayes will host Leadership on the Land, looking at leading women in agribusiness.

Ms Thomas said technological advancements have helped, with women that didn’t want to be involved in the “brawn” side of agriculture able to contribute in other ways.

“Women are now able to do most of the things that traditionally only men had the physical capacity to do,” she said.

“That said, women are also fairly handy in the shearing shed.”

Her own journey to chief executive was one that wasn’t simple, Ms Thomas said she felt overlooked for positions she was qualified for in her career – and made a point of asking questions.

“At times I have felt some unfairness or been overlooked, I’ve development a mantra that if I see something I need to say something,” she said.

“I come from a high country merino station in New Zealand and I’ve had great leadership and opportunity throughout my career to stand up and have my voice heard.

“We’d love to see men and women at these events, it’s about equal representation and I think men have a real role to play in supporting women.”

The women in agriculture events Leadership on the Land and Why Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast are on August 1 and 2 in Tamworth.