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Greater diversity can only benefit rural industries

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey says increasing diversity in rural industries is important to unlock the innovation necessary for Australian agriculture to grow and prosper.

As part of the AgriFutures Australia diversity in decision-making in rural industries project, we found only 26% of small businesses and 41% of large businesses have appointed females to decision making roles in the past two years. We are committed to improving this statistic.

AgriFutures Australia is dedicated to promoting gender diversity and does so through programs such as the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award, AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship and the AgriFutures™ Ignite Network. These programs are about making a concerted effort to create pathways to leadership and decision-making positions for the next generation and people from diverse backgrounds.

The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award in particular shines a spotlight on rural women who are committed to creating a positive impact in rural and regional communities and acknowledges them for their contribution to rural industries. The Award provides rural women with a platform to not only develop a project that will drive change in rural and regional Australia but also inspire and support other women.

Findings from our research show that rural industries stand to benefit greatly by increasing diversity. It found that there are real business benefits linked to senior-leadership diversity including increased profitability, productivity and innovation.

We need to remove barriers that are stopping people getting into decision-making roles in our rural industries. Our success as a sector depends on all of us working together, striving for diversity and actively encouraging new points of view in our businesses and our operations every single day. The more diverse the perspectives, knowledge and experiences available to us, the closer we get to making well-informed decisions.

Increasing diversity in the Australian agriculture sector aligns with AgriFutures Australia’s vision to see our rural industries grow and prosper. We know Australia’s rural industries operate in a complex and dynamic environment, and that to face the challenges of tomorrow, we need to accelerate the pace of change. What better way to do this than by supercharging our innovation through embracing diversity.

Learn more about diversity in decision-making in rural industries, read the full report at www.agrifutures.com.au/skills-labour

AgriFutures™ is a partner of the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program

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