On International Women’s Day, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has identified financial insecurity as a significant issue for farm businesswomen and released a discussion paper to facilitate pragmatic steps towards a more positive future they can count on.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said women’s work and expertise were critical to maintaining and developing agricultural businesses but some women are exposed to financial insecurity due to a lack of economic support structures.
“Factors such as exclusion from decision-making and control over wealth, an inability to earn personal income, and a lack of institutional recognition can make farm businesswomen disproportionately vulnerable to poverty in retirement, or after significant events such as bereavement, divorce, and natural disaster,” Dr Davis said.
“Research identified that many women in agriculture today continue to work without pay, struggle to generate and retain off-farm income, contribute little to superannuation or capital for retirement, are ineligible for services such as insurance, and receive insufficient government support.”
“The paper recommends extensive and accurate data be collected to determine the issues, while support must be provided to farm businesswomen through mentoring and financial and legal advice.”
“The policies of government and bodies such as insurance providers must be also reviewed to ensure they understand and are inclusive of the unique needs of farm businesswomen.”
“Following on from this paper, QFF’s Farm Businesswomen Working Group will work to identify and prioritise implementation strategies. Farm businesswomen are invited to consider the discussion questions, join the conversation and share their experiences with the Working Group by 30 April, 2021.”
“In addition, the QFF-led Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance is working with UQ Skills to deliver a ‘for women, by women’ edition of their Farm Business Management Skill Set program which aims to celebrate and encourage women’s participation in agriculture by providing them with the skills and knowledge to manage farm business.”
“Commitment is needed from government, industry bodies, researchers, and farmers themselves to address the gaps, progress change and assist farm businesswomen achieve financial security.”