TASMANIAN beef producer, podcaster and founder of Motherland Australia, Stephanie Trethewey has officially been named as the 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Winner for her work in providing services, resources and virtual communities for mothers in regional locations.
Bendigo resident and founder of OAK Magazine, Kimberley Furness was National runner-up, for her work in creating opportunities to profile and celebrate female-led businesses.
Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt made the announcement during a black tie gala dinner at Canberra’s Parliament House on Tuesday evening in front of 520 government officials, industry representatives, members of the award’s alumni, other state finalists and their families.
The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award acknowledges and supports the critical role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities. With the ongoing support of sponsors, Westpac Agribusiness, the program provides opportunities to showcase and inspire the next generation of female leaders across Australia.
Adding to the $15,000 Westpac grant already awarded to seven state and territory winners, Stephanie and Kimberley will receive an additional $20,000 and $15,000 respectively to further the development of their winning projects.
“I am incredibly grateful to both AgriFutures and Westpac for their ongoing support for Motherland’s vision to deliver more inclusive services for rural mother’s regardless of their postcode,” Mrs Trethewey said.
Fuelled by her own experience of raising young children on the land, Stephanie created Motherland, a podcast series sharing a raw and unfiltered representation of motherhood in rural communities. After amassing 330,000 downloads and profiling over 130 rural mothers, Stephanie extended Motherland’s offerings through the launch of Motherland Village – Australia’s first online mothers group and resource centre. The digital platform now offers nine separate programs for over 80 rural mothers with children aged from newborns through to their late teens.
“Due to their location or a lack of local services, many rural women don’t have access to adequate post-natal support, including the opportunity to form meaningful connections with other women. Mothers are the backbone of these communities, yet they remain significantly undervalued and under supported. Their work underpins rural industries including the agriculture sector whether they are employed directly in it or not and it is crucial that we begin to recognise these contributions,” she said.
Mrs Trethewey will use her grant to offer additional resources through the Motherland Village platform as well as a series of tailored postnatal programs developed in partnership with several rural-based hospitals.
AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey congratulated Mrs Trethewey on her achievements and ability to innovatively deliver services to women in rural, regional and remote communities.
“Through her advocacy and implementation of the Motherland programs, Stephanie has created a new model for postnatal care in regional Australia and a blueprint for others looking at ways to improve the delivery of services in our rural communities. Her drive to create spaces that encourage connection and support for other rural women is highly commendable and a true embodiment of the Award’s key objectives,” he said.
Mr Harvey also congratulated 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Runner Up, Kimberley Furness, who received an additional $15,000 grant. The Bendigo resident is the Founder and Editor of OAK Magazine, an independent print publication dedicated to female entrepreneurs and women in business who are based outside of capital cities.
Westpac’s Director of Climate and Rural Engagement, Stephen Hannan applauded Mrs Trethewey and Mrs Furness on taking out the titles.
“Congratulations to Stephanie on being selected as the National Winner and Kimberley for the National Runner Up. We look forward to championing their progressions as we also continue to support the remaining state finalists as they drive change and lead by example, which is something Westpac believes in and is why we continue to support these Awards,” he said.
Stephanie and Kimberley were joined by their fellow national finalists, who were recognised for their outstanding contribution to rural communities and industries during Tuesday’s ceremony. The 2022 cohort includes:
Child Nurse and founder of Rural Child Health, Rebecca Bradshaw (Jackson, QLD)
Disability Advocate and founder of Ability Agriculture, Josie Clarke (Bellimbopinni, NSW)
Primary producer and Kere to Country mentor, Robyn Verrall (Keith, SA)
Remote educator and founder of RAISEducation, Kylie Jones (Mt Riddock Station, NT)
Mental and physical health practitioner and founder of Farm Life Fitness, Louise O’Neill (Denmark, WA).
Applications for the 2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award are now open, and will close Wednesday, 19 October (Friday, 27 January 2023 for NT Applicants).