International Women's Day
Increasing the Participation of Indigenous Women in the Native Ag+Food Sector
Joined by a panel of women ranging from Indigenous entrepreneurs to agricultural scientists, Dr Christine Pitt moderated a discussion around the critical importance of increasing the participation of Indigenous Women in the native agriculture and food sector.
This year’s International Women’s Day focus is “Choose to Challenge”.
Did you know Indigenous women are significantly underrepresented in business entrepreneurship with less than 0.2% of all Australian businesses being operated by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women? (ABS: 2015:'A Profile of Australian Women in business').
While there are no comprehensive data sets available for the native ag+food sector, it is estimated that less than 2% of businesses in this sector are led by Indigenous business owners. Food Futures Company believes that the native ag+food sector can offer the pathways and opportunities to significantly increase this number.
The challenge however, is that whilst Indigenous women have considerable skills, knowledge and strengths they face multiple barriers to participation. This is specifically as a result of their gender, cultural background, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status which creates a vicious cycle in which the lack of Indigenous female role models negatively impacts on the career decisions of young Indigenous women.
The native ag+food sector is fundamental to Indigenous cultural and social identity. The lack of participation by Indigenous people (and women in particular) is likely to be impacting on their ability to secure economic, health, cultural and social benefits for themselves and their communities. It is therefore essential that Indigenous women are able to freely control their own development.
Food Futures Company is responding to this challenge through a new national Native Ag+Food Entrepreneurship Pathway Program with the aim to empower Indigenous girls and women with the confidence, knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills they need to successfully launch new ventures and/or participate in tech-based careers across the native ag+food value chain.