New book tells the stories of some of Australia’s most influential rural women

Beef Central, 15/10/2020

CELEBRATING today as the United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women, the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has launched a new book celebrating the contribution of the award through the lens of women who have been a part of its 21-year history.

The theme of the book is celebrating 21 years with the same question posed to all the participants: “What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?”

Elisha Parker, 2020 Queensland state award winner

The book provides an opportunity for the award’s Alumni to empower and inspire each other, and the next generation of women in agriculture.

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award acknowledges and supports the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses, and communities, particularly for those people living in regional and rural communities. The award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities.

Since its inception, the Rural Women’s Award has continued to change lives. The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award was first launched in 2000, and winners were selected from every State/Territory for the first five years. In 2017, RIRDC was relocated from Canberra to Wagga Wagga, and re-branded as AgriFutures Australia, and so the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award was launched.

The award has seen more than 300 exceptional women from rural communities and industries share their challenges and solutions to many rural issues.

Some of the beef industry identities featured in the book include:

  • Catherine Marriott, National Rural Women’s award runner-up and WA state award winner 2012
  • Barb Madden, Smithfield feedlot Proston – National Rural Women’s award runner-up and Queensland state winner 2009
  • Rebecca Arnott, 2004 NSW/ACT state award winner
  • Robbie Sefton, 2002 NSW/ACT state award winner
  • Isobel Knight, 2013 National Rural Women’s award runner-up and NSW/ACT state award winner
  • Pip Job, 2014 National Rural Women’s award winner
  • Sherrill Stivano, 2015 Queensland state award winner
  • Emma Robinson, 2016 Queensland state award winner
  • Elisha Parker, 2020 Queensland state award winner

AgriFutures Australia board chair, Kay Hull, said the book highlighted the inspirational women who have participated in the award since its inception.

“For years, the aim of the program is to amplify the impactful voice of all our State/Territory Winners by giving them a platform to share their message and help unlock the potential of all rural women. This book is a wonderful record of the impressive Rural Women’s Award Alumni,” Mrs Hull said.

“This book shines a light into the deeply personal stories of many women. These journeys are as diverse as the women telling them. They speak of social change, of triumph and tragedy, of ingenuity, resilience, bravery and determination. And there’s no better day to launch such a powerful collection of stories than on the International Day of Rural Women where we celebrate the role of rural women globally.”

The 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award State/Territory Winners will remain as their State/Territory Winners until September 2021 when the national winner and runner-up of this cohort will be announced at a gala dinner at Parliament House.

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will not open applications in September 2020 for the 2021 program. Instead, applications will open again, directly following the gala event in September 2021 for the 2022 program.


The book is available to download – click here to access.






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