Local, Independant and Effective
September 12, 2016

Rural Australians, particularly women, must be heard: Cathy McGowan

Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan is encouraging women to take responsibility for having their issues heard and addressed.

Ms McGowan will deliver an address titled “Looking forward, looking back” at the Australian Women in Agriculture Conference being held in Canberra on Sunday, September 11.

“Residents in rural and regional Australia are poorly represented and this is particularly the case for women,” Ms McGowan said.

“Looking forward we’re actually looking back.”

Cathy told the conference that the average representation of women on Rural Industry Research and Development Boards (RDC) is 21 per cent. Of the 15 RDC boards, the ‘highest’ representation is MLA with 3 women on a 10 person board; 6 RDC boards have 1 women and 7 boards have 2 women. (1)

It’s no better in Parliament!

“Notably there are only eight women who represent rural House of Representatives electorates in the 45th Parliament,” she said.

Of the 40 rural electorates across the nation, eight are represented by women and 32 by men –just 20 per cent represented by women.

Of the nine rural electorates in Victoria, Indi is the only one represented by a woman – just 11 per cent. (2)

“We need to pay attention to this,” Ms McGowan said.

“Research carried out by RIRDC in 1998 estimated that women’s on –farm contribution, their off-farm wage income and the value of household, volunteer and community work contributes 48% of total real farm income and is worth in excess of $14Billion. (3)

“I encourage women to be involved in agricultural organisations, political parties and organisations.  It is important our voices, opinions and experience are taken into account on all issues, particularly on rural development, agricultural, trade and finance.”

(“1 & 2” Source Parliamentary Library 8 September 2016, (3) source Missed Opportunities Vol 2, p 53 RIRDC 1998)

Media opportunity: The media is invited to attend Ms McGowan’s speech from 11.15am to noon on Sunday, September 11 at University House, Australian National University, Canberra.

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