We celebrate International Day of Rural Women

Since 2008, the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing has been formally celebrated around the world.

Women make up a substantial proportion of our agricultural labour force, often while also doing the books, sorting out the finances and juggling the kids.

The Agency works with amazing rural women across the country, working in all types of roles. Here are a few that we celebrate with today on the International Day of Rural Women 2020.

Lynda Atkinson – community volunteer

Lynda from Delungra in northern NSW has spent her life volunteering. A 7th generation farmer, she was taught as a child if you want to feel better then make someone else feel better. Here’s her story: www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/lynda-atkinson-lifetime-volunteering

Sandy Gillies – health worker

Having experienced the 1990 Charleville flood, Sandy was in the thick of the local response to the 2019 monsoon flood event that devastated farmland and communities from Winton to the Gulf. A proud Gungarri woman, she speaks about her experiences and work, and her love for the Winton community here: www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/flood-recovery-standing-proud-winton

Julie Bird – sheep farmer

When the drought hit Julie’s sheep production farm at Inverell, she was soon looking for options to generate additional income. Aware of research into how merino wool garments helped people sleep at night, Julie thought she would “give it a go”. Find out more: www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/sleepy-marino-inverell

Susan Dowling – charity co-founder

The loss, devastation and sadness Susan witnessed from her Cloncurry friends and neighbours after the 2019 monsoon trough led to another life-changing event for her – the national recognition of Sisters of the North. From humble beginnings, Sisters of the North quickly raised $1.3 million to assist affected communities. More on her journey here: www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/flood-recovery-sister-cloncurry

Rachel Bock – financial counsellor

Based in Longreach, Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland counsellor Rachel Bock is playing a vital role for many graziers impacted by the 2019 monsoon flood event, and now by drought. Here’s some of the people she’s helped get back in business:

www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/flood-recovery-rfcs-working-together

www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/flood-recovery-demonstrating-strength-and-resilience-rural-women

www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/flood-recovery-cotswold-hills

Tash Johnston – charity co-founder

Tash is co-founder of Drought Angels, an Australian not-for-profit charity with a reputation for providing personalised, heartfelt assistance to farming families and rural communities. We recently caught up with Tash and the team at their headquarters in Chinchilla, Queensland: www.droughtandflood.gov.au/stories/ground-drought-angels