BASF supports Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program in Australia

BASF will support the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) 2019 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program – an industry commitment to developing more women into key-decision making roles in the industry. The program is designed to support women in agriculture, with an ambition to shape the future of Australia’s food and fibre industry.

The Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program provides applicants with a six-month, one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to be a part of a network of female agriculture leaders. 

“The success of last year’s program demonstrated the appetite for women to pursue industry leadership,” said Fiona Simson, NFF President, who is the Federation’s first female president. “In 2018, more than 120 skilled, passionate women applied to be a part of the program. Eight successful applicants were chosen, hailing from across the nation and taking in a range of interests and disciplines.”

Ms Simson said like many industries, agriculture had ‘work to do’ to realize gender equality and the benefits that flow.  

“Women have been the pillar of Australia’s food and fibre production since farming began in this country. Over generations, in line with societal change, women have forged careers in all agriculture-related fields from agronomy and education to finance and marketing. 

“However, in the senior executive and board level ranks of many of the organizations I observe, there remains a lack of female voices. 

“In fact, women comprise 41% of the agricultural workforce but only 18% of management roles and 2.3% of CEO positions.” 

Ms Simson said injecting the perspectives of females to the forums where strategic decisions were made was vital to the future growth of the industry. 

“Diversity of gender represents a diversity of thoughts and perspectives. The NFF sees increasing the representation of women as key to achieving agriculture’s potential including reaching $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.

“That’s why we have included a target to double the number of women in agricultural management roles in our 2030 Roadmap,” added Simson.

“We’re thrilled to be involved in the opportunities that the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program will create for women in leadership roles in our industry. BASF has made a commitment to embed diversity and inclusion into our culture and increasingly see more women in key decision-making roles and on our leadership team,” said Gavin Jackson, Head of Agricultural Solutions at BASF Australia and New Zealand. “We are committed to implementing initiatives that bring new ways of thinking to drive achievement among both women and men in the industry. This program will support our industry to lead this mindset change in order to make progress.”

Over the course of six months, program participants will work with a specially matched mentor to develop the skills and networks they need to realize their leadership ambitions.

Successful 2019 applicants will also take part in a two-day Canberra leadership retreat during May, and graduate in October as part of the NFF’s 40th Anniversary celebrations.

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