26 October 2023
Farmers, agricultural leaders and 35 program partners from across Australia have today seen 12 extraordinary women from a cross-section of professional and personal experience take their leadership journey to the next level, graduating from the National Farmers’ Federation Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.
The graduation, coinciding with the NFF’s National Conference, showcased the growth in female leadership in agriculture and celebrated the partners’ commitment to equality.
It also heralded the announcement of the program’s inaugural Patron, Fiona Simson, who founded the initiative in 2018 after seeing the dire lack of women around agriculture’s boardroom tables and in management positions.
NFF CEO and program mentor Tony Mahar said the conference provided the platform to celebrate the graduates and all they’ve achieved to a national audience.
“In just five months, these 12 leaders put in the hard work with their mentors. From gaining executive positions, stepping up into new committee positions, and finding confidence within themselves, these women have made a real impact within the industry.”
Graduates will join the program’s growing alumni network, bringing the total to 64 participants, many whom have gone on to become changemakers and leaders in agriculture.
2023 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program graduates
Amanda Moohen, Condamine QLD
Bron Christensen, Theodore QLD
Lucy Knight, Gunning NSW
Dr Georgina Pengilley, Leeton NSW
Jaime Manning, Frenchville QLD
Jessica Knight, Stratford VIC
Kathleen Johns, Thurgoona NSW
Majella Nolan, Brisbane QLD
Meridie Jackson Dixons Creek, VIC
Naomi Wilson, Wagaman NT
Stephanie Terry Exton, TAS
Zarmeen Hassan, Melbourne VIC
Some of Australian agriculture’s most influential names were also celebrated at the graduation for their latest pledges to close the gender gap.
Thirty-five government, business, and representative organisations a part of the NFF’s Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, have once again publicly pledged to make meaningful change towards gender equality.
NFF CEO Tony Mahar said these partners were changing the way they attract, retain, and promote women in the workforce.
“They are steadfast in their focus to remove barriers that exist for women and people of diverse backgrounds who work in agriculture. Whether that be gender pay gaps, parental leave, or removing bias in recruitment, they’re looking at how to improve inclusion.
“With the program in its sixth year, we’re seeing real generational change across industry and partners. We know that more young women and culturally diverse people are entering the industry. We also know that agricultural female graduates are making more than their male counterparts.
“It’s through initiatives that our program partners are promoting, and the broader industry stepping up to close the gender gaps, that we’re able to see some of this change. It’s now our job to keep the momentum going as women progress in their careers into leadership positions.”
The graduation also marked the outgoing NFF President and the initiative’s founder, Fiona Simson, as program Patron. In this role, Ms Simson will advise the program on future and strategic direction and also be an advocate for inclusion and diversity in agriculture.
“I feel so honoured to continue this very important work. As the program has grown, it’s important to look at ways to ensure we’re truly including and embracing not only gender diversity but diversity in all its forms.”