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World Rural Woman's Day recognises contribution

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DPIE98/112A 15 October 1998

Australian rural industries have been urged to support the role of women beyond the farm gate by celebrating World Rural Women's Day today.

Women make up 40 per cent of the world's workforce in agriculture and women farmers in developing countries produce half of the world's food.

Some 70,000 Australian women consider themselves farmers and their contribution to the economy is about $4 billion in farm work and $1 billion in off-farm work. It is estimated they also contribute over $8 billion in imp aid household work and almost $0.5 billion in volunteer and community work.

"Australian women have demonstrated they have an abundance of the skills and experience necessary to enhance the economic and social development of Australia", the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson said.

"It is timely that we encourage rural industries throughout Australia to develop an enriched culture of fairness and selection processes based strictly on merit.

"It is unwise to down play the contribution women can make. An industry that employs all its available human resources to the full, regardless of gender, will have a greater chance of reaching its full potential. Diversity can enhance innovation and new ideas; it makes good business sense," he said.

"It is timely to encourage industry and government organisations throughout Australia to better recognise women's contributions. "This can be done in many practical ways which include increasing the number of women in senior positions, providing education and

training opportunities, encouraging leadership development, consulting women on new policies and programs and expanding research aimed at capitalising on our human capital."

Many activities have been organised by industry, community and government agencies around Australia to celebrate World Rural Women's Day.

Media inquiries:

Mr Anderson's office Robert Haynes(02) 6277 7520 or 0419 49 3511 Rural Women's Unit, DPIE Helen Board (02) 6272 3984

Internet: h ttp ://

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