by Tobi Loftus
CAROLYN Stone has dedicated her life to advocating for rural industries.
Ms Stone is part of a two-woman-strong powerhouse in the leadership of south-east Queensland AgForce.
She is the president and works closely with director Georgie Somerset.
"My background is in grain and cropping,” she said.
"It is a great acknowledgement of being able to showcase that women can be in these roles and what we are trying to encourage is for young people to put their hands up to say you can do this too.”
Ms Stone has lived in the South Burnett for more than 25 years and has seen a lot of change in that time.
"These organisations decades ago were always male-based, as were a lot of organisations, over the years that has changed,” she said.
"Not every woman wants to be outspoken or a leader, you need people to be supportive as well.
"But we need to encourage women to say we're able to be a spokesperson if we want to.”
Ms Stone said the advice she would pass on to other rural women was to make sure they were happy in the role they carried out every day.
"It's about getting up every day and striving to achieve something, no matter how small it is,” she said.
"Everyone needs to set goals. I don't want women to think, oh God they have to get out there and be a Georgie or Carolyn, it's about doing what you feel comfortable with in your environment and being happy at the end of the day.”
Ms Stone said the future looked exciting for agriculture industries and women in the agriculture sector.
"There are a lot of positives out there,” she said.
"There will always be droughts and floods, we arereal gamblers when it comes to that, but there areso many positives to behad in agriculture as it'sabout achieving something, it's your own business.
"We've come a long way in agriculture, we're moving into a sphere that is rapidly changing and moving. There are so many other jobs than just farming, there is agribusiness, the banking industry, engineering. It's an exciting time out there.”
Rural women like MsStone and their accomplishments will be celebrated at the International Day of Rural Women on Sunday.
What is International Day of Rural Women:
This Sunday is International Day for Rural Women.
According to a United Nations website, the first International Day of Rural Women was observed on October 15, 2008.
The day was established by the General Assembly in December 2007 to recognise, according to resolution 62/136, "the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty”.
"Rural women make up over a quarter of the total world population and represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force,” the UN said.
"They depend largely on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihood and the livelihood of others; they produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.
"Today 76% of the extremely poor live in rural areas. Ensuring rural women's access to productive agricultural resources is key to decreasing world hunger and poverty and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
International Day of Rural Women will be celebrated in the South Burnett with a special walk.
BIEDO will host the free walk and morning tea on October 15. The event begins at Dalton Park, Wooroolin, at 9am.
For more information, phone BIEDO on 41695456.