Recognising rural women on International Women’s Day 08 Mar 2011

Women around the globe will unite today to mark International Women’s Day (March 8), and recognise the enormous economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. 

“International Women’s Day takes on added significance this year, as it is exactly 100 years since more than one million women gathered across Europe to campaign for greater rights for women,” RIRDC Managing Director, Craig Burns said.  

“As we take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements of women not just in Australia but right around the globe, it’s timely that we also celebrate the enormous contribution rural women make to our rural industries and communities.

“The significant achievements of rural women in Australia have helped shaped our nation’s agriculture history. Their contribution will continue to grow in the future as a new generation of empowered female leaders makes their mark on the agriculture sector.

“Recognising this contribution is one of the main drivers of the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award, which is held each year to encourage rural women to play an even greater role in primary industries, resource development and rural Australia.”

Mr Burns said the quality of this year’s state winners of the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award demonstrates the enormous contribution women are making to rural Australia.

“This year’s state winners include an agriculture educator; a leader in the field of water use; a champion for locally made produce; an innovative alpaca breeder and a professional trainer dedicated to improving the business skills of rural women.” 

As part of International Women’s Day, the winner and runner-up of the 2010 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award – Sue Middleton and Alana Johnson – will today attend a book launch in Canberra by the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC.

The book – Women’s Word of Wisdom, Power and Passion – is being launched in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. 

The book includes contributions from 50 iconic women in Australia, including politicians, business leaders, entertainers, sportswomen and farmers, including Sue Middleton and Alana Johnson.  

Sue is working to progress her vision of commercialising biogas from piggery waste, while Alana is committed to establishing a philanthropic foundation for agriculture.

The 2011 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award culminates on 24 May 2011 at an awards ceremony in Canberra where the national winner of the award will be announced. 

The Award is supported by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Westpac, Rural Press and ABC Radio. 

Further information on the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is available at