How to give government an understanding of the land management issues

Photo credit: ABC North and West SA

Janet Brook believes it is time for greater recognition of women in agriculture. (ABC)

Outback women leading way for arid land management

By Michael Dulaney

Janet Brook has watched the slow progress on issues facing women in the outback – from feral animals to gender politics and the tyranny of distance.

She lives with her husband, Anthony, and their four children on Cordillo Downs, an 8000 square kilometre cattle station in the far north east of South Australia.

For the past six years, Janet has been the presiding board member of SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management (NRM), a group that works to balance the needs of the environment and those of people living in remote areas.

She joined other women working in land management throughout rural SA at the Arid Lands Women’s Retreat in Marree last month to chew over the issues facing pastoral businesses.

Janet told ABC North and West’s Sarah Tomlinson networking events like the retreat are helping to shift the traditional view of agriculture from being male-dominated.

“I think we need to change that stereotyped image of men in agriculture, it’s definitely not the case,” she said.

“Maybe men in the past have been more visible and maybe the ladies have taken the behind the scenes type roles but I think that’s changing more and more as time goes on.

“Women are getting more opportunities to take part and maybe technology has helped that too.”

While the view of gender roles in agriculture is slowly shifting, Janet said the challenges facing natural resource managers have remained largely the same for many years.

Read the full article: ABC North and West SA


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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