— Guest post by Elizabeth McClymont
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”- Eleanor Roosevelt
At the beginning of October, on behalf of the Merlyn Myer Fund, I was fortunate enough to attend the Australian Women in Agriculture #AgendHER: Women influencing the agricultural agenda training course in Canberra. The three-day leadership workshop brought together 20 women, aged between 17 and 45, from all over rural and regional Australia; including South Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
The project was organised by the wonderful women at Australian Women in Agriculture with the objective to enable female participants to engage with their peers, extend their networks, and build their knowledge and skills around leadership, communication, dealing with people in their workplace and effective advocacy.
For me, the most beneficial part of the workshop was having the opportunity to network and collaborate with some of Australia’s most driven and passionate women in agriculture. The group contained such diversity and it was fascinating to learn that everyone’s passion for agriculture was developed so differently… not just being brought up on their parent’s beef property in Queensland, as I had experienced!
Something I took away from the #AgendHER workshop was that in Australia there are more male company heads with the name Peter than there are female company heads. Women are so incredibly underrepresented in leadership roles in our companies, particularly in the agricultural industry, and for all of us down in Canberra this created a point of concern. How can we as individuals get more females involved in the industry, and how can we promote leadership amongst these women?… this is something that we, as a group, are committed to working on over the coming year.
Our last day in Canberra was spent at none other than Parliament House. We were prepped for our visit by some very influential and inspiring people promoting agriculture in the nation’s capital. These included politicians Cathy McGown MP, Rowan Ramsey MP, Vivian Thompson, and Hannah Wandel the CEO of Country to Canberra, which is an initiative that supports young, country girls reach their leadership potential. Some key takeaways from these speakers were to arrive at parliament with a well prepared elevator speech and with a solution! “If you’re not going to advocate no one else will, so come with a solution”.