ABARE statistics report that, in 1995, 21 per cent of spouses on farms had completed tertiary education compared to only 9 per cent of operators. This represents a pool of skills and experience that often complements the practical knowledge of the farm operators.
Debbie Thiele (see story this page) won the first ABC Rural Woman of the Year Award in 1994. "The industry has made good progress in acknowledging the role of women in the rural industries since," she says.
"I believe this award was not only a turning point for me, but for all women in rural industries, as it acknowledges their existence and contribution."
This acknowledgement has continued with GRDC supporting the Victorian Women in Grains Project, the South Australian and Western Australian Families in Agriculture Project and the creation by Mrs Thiele of a database of rural women's organisations.
Mrs Thiele and others look forward to a similar nationwide program soon.
Anyone who would like to know about such a project, or who is currently Involved with activities that help women become more actively involved in the grains industry, or for general information about the National Women in Grains Initiative...
Contact: Mrs Debbie Thiele phone 08 8584 6571 fax 08 8584 5410 email firstname.lastname@example.org