2017 Victorian AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award winner Kirsten Abernethy
“The award came out of left field and frankly, I was surprised to get it. I’m from the fishing industry which is a bit isolated from the other agricultural industries and a pretty closed shop for women. The award opened new horizons for me. It increased my confidence and introduced me to amazing women from other sectors who already had good networks and interact effectively. In fishing, only about five per cent of women are in executive positions, so female role models and networks are few and far between and need developing.
I can see issues in our industry where a woman’s perspective could really improve things, so we need more women leaders. Proof of how women can change the industry can be seen in the work the fledgling Seafood Industry Australia is doing across the whole supply chain. The Chair and Chief Executive Officer are both women and they’re really kicking goals.
My long-term project is to connect women across the fishing industry, encouraging them to network and importantly, tell their stories. They have amazing stories to tell! Stories are the key to increasing the appreciation and acknowledgement of women in our industry, their confidence and their status. I’ve come across some great networks that encourage women to participate — the Women’s Industry Network Seafood community, the VRWN, Australian Women in Agriculture and the Invisible Farmer Project are just a few. I’m continuing to promote these and other networks to women in my industry, and encouraging them to speak out to shape a new future.”