The many and diverse achievements of women in the organic industry are being highlighted this International Women’s Day by peak industry body Australian Organic Limited (AOL).
AOL Chief Executive, Niki Ford, said Australia’s $2 billion a year organic sector is filled with innovative, driven, and successful women.
“Diversity is essential to the success of our industry,” Ms Ford said.
“Across Australia, women are actively contributing to driving organics forward and supporting widespread success, not only through certified organic products, but through ongoing sustainable practices.”
However, Ms Ford said there remains a gap to fill in the representation of women in leadership across the Australian farm sector.
“Women make up a large portion of tertiary enrolments in the Australian agricultural sector, as well as being at the forefront of on-farm roles in ag-tech and innovation. Despite this, women are under-represented in senior employment positions,” she said.
“The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) aims to double the number of women in leadership roles by 2030 – an important initiative we fully support. I also act as a mentor for the NFF Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.
“International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on equality and also reflect on how far we’ve come.”
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
It’s a cause close to the heart of Georgia Beattie, who was named Organic Woman of the Year at the 2022 Australian Organic Industry Awards last November, hosted by AOL.
Georgia is CEO and Managing Director of Australia’s largest organic mushroom farm, Bulla Park, and a board member of Rowing Australia, the Australian Mushroom Growing Association, and ACO Certification Ltd, Australia’s largest certifier for organic and biodynamic produce.
Through these positions she has worked to help push the agriculture industry towards aiming for a fifty-fifty gender representation and greater cultural diversity.
“I have been able to help change two constitutions within the industry to reflect greater gender diversity, as well as codes of conduct to ensure females do feel safe to speak up and be leaders in agriculture,” Ms Beattie said.
After once being told ‘diversity was a trend’ in agriculture, she made it her mission to support agricultural businesses in creating diversity in their leadership teams and boards.
“Diversity is not a trend that is going away, and 50 per cent of the population being relevant to leadership positions certainly isn’t going away either.
“Other industries are well-aware of the benefits of cultural and gender diversity; however, there are parts of agriculture that have an exciting opportunity ahead. Cultural and gender diversity is one of the greatest assets on my farm – it’s only natural that it is represented in my leadership team.”
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