National Farmers Federation aims to increase female leadership

Women weren't legally considered farmers until 1994 and, while progress has been made, they are still under-represented in leadership roles. 

It is an issue National Farmers Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson says she has been working on.

NFF runs a Diversity in Ag Leadership program that offers women mentoring and training.

Since its inception, the program boasts more than 50 alumni and more than 30 organisations that have partnered with them to make meaningful change towards gender diversity in the ag industry.

"We need to focus on the gaps — whether it's gender pay gaps, whether it's flexible work options, whether it's working from home options," Ms Simson says.

"Those are the sorts of issues our partners in our Diversity in Ag Leadership program are committing to fix."

Ms Simson is the first female president in the NFF's history.

After growing up on a farm near Armidale, NSW, she worked for businesses, local governments, and the NSW Farmers Association.

She says the NFF's goal is to double the number of women in management roles in agriculture by 2030.

"It just brings a variety of thinking that is absolutely going to increase the options to industry," she says. 

And it is clear things are starting to change.

The latest women's budget statement showed that in agriculture and environmental studies, female graduates were starting to out earn their male counterparts.​

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