Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
On the eve of International Women’s Day 2012, new research shows the majority of Australians still think farming is ‘just for men’, despite one fifth of agribusiness jobs belonging to women.

The research, conducted as part of altitudinal benchmarking for the Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 campaign, found 92% of Australians think that men are likely to work in agriculture, farming and related businesses, but only 40% think women are likely to pursue these opportunities.

However, when asked to think about their own careers, the difference between the genders was negligible, with 18% of males and 16% of females indicating they would consider a career in agribusiness.

The result was similarly close when the 2000 respondents were asked if they would encourage their children to take up a career in agribusiness, with 49% of females and 50% of males indicating they would.

Australian Year of the Farmer’s newest Ambassador, Channel 9’s Catriona Rowntree, said the results confirmed a long-standing, but ultimately bogus stereotype; that careers in agribusiness are generally male-dominated.

“This assumption is a load of rubbish,” Ms Rowntree said. “The Australian agricultural sector is thriving with enthusiastic successful young women ranging from jillaroos and farm hands, to researchers, agronomists and CEOs of multinational organisations. They’re passionate, positive and powerful.”

Year of the Farmer co-founder and Chairperson Philip Bruem AM said the results pointed to an interesting anomaly.

“The massive gulf between the perceived suitability of careers in agribusiness for males (92%) as compared to females (40%) is remarkable – especially when in their assessment of the suitability of a career in agribusiness for themselves, or their children, males and females were almost identical,” Mr Bruem said.

“The contribution of women to agribusiness is often overlooked by mainstream Australia. But regional areas know the reality is that women play a hugely important role across all areas of the industry.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics most recent labour force data, of the 250,000 agribusiness jobs in Australia, more than 50,000 belong to women .

“International Women’s Day is the perfect occasion to recognise and appreciate the role Australian women in agriculture play in feeding, clothing and sheltering us all. There are so many wonderful stores to tell,” Mr Bruem said.

Cath Ford, who runs the largest certified organic macadamia and coffee plantation in New South Wales, entered the world of agribusiness when she converted a lychee farm into a macadamia and coffee plantation.

Today the plantation is profitable and sustainable and features approximately 8,000 macadamia trees and 3,000 coffee trees on 110 acres.

Cath, who hails from a banking background, said there were countless opportunities for women seeking a rewarding and fulfilling career in agribusiness.

“There is more to agribusiness than driving a tractor across a paddock. In fact women are said to account for one third of the management positions in agribusiness,” Cath said.

“Agribusiness offers women dynamic and rewarding career paths and also provides an incredible opportunity to contribute to the prosperity of local communities and to the broader economy.”

Contact Profile

Australian Year of the Farmer

Founded as a non-political, not-for-profit organisation, Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is an education and awareness campaign to celebrate the contribution farmers make to the Australian economy and community.

Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 enjoys the patronage of the Governor-General, as well as the support of Federal, State and Territory Governments. Seed funding for the development of the Year was provided by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The program is supported by Foundation Sponsors Elders, Woolworths and Suncorp Bank, as well as many other sponsors and supporters.

As one of Australia’s leading agribusinesses with more than 360 points of presence in rural and regional locations employing 3,300 personnel in Australia, New Zealand, China and Indonesia, Elders is a proud Foundation Sponsor of Australian Year of the Farmer 2012. Through its national network, Elders offer services tailored to the needs of primary producers, including cropping, livestock, wool, dairy, horticulture and a range of product solutions to support agribusiness such as banking, insurance and real estate. Its international connections also help link Australian farmers with global markets, reinforcing value as a business partner through people, expertise and relationships.

Australian Farmer of the Year 2012 is also made possible by Foundation Sponsor, Woolworths. One hundred per cent of the fresh meat and poultry and 97 per cent of the fruit and vegetables sold in Woolworths supermarkets are sourced from Australian producers and growers.

Foundation Partner Suncorp Bank is Australia’s leading regional bank with 110 years of heritage supporting the growth of rural and regional communities. As Australia’s fifth largest bank, Suncorp provides personal, small business and agribusiness banking services via 240 branches across the country. From trade finance and foreign exchange to deposits and the home mortgage Suncorp Bank offers award-winning products backed by leading customer service. The Bank is part of the Suncorp Group, a top 25 Australian company with 16,000 staff serving nine million customers.

Follow us on twitter @ayof2012
Australian Year of the Farmer Press Office
P: 0427 188 159


Farming, agriculture, farm, International Women's Day, careers, agribusiness



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