Inclusion name of the game for Women in Farming

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen

One of the State’s leading agricultural groups has rebranded to “remove any perceived barriers”, reflect its inclusiveness and “embrace the times”.

Women in Farming — previously known as Women in Farming Enterprises or WIFE for short — has this year dropped the word Enterprises and the acronym all together.

It came as the group — which has 12 branches and more than 200 members across the grainbelt — reflected on the name and whether the acronym could have been interpreted as a barrier for some women wanting to join.

Originally formed by five farming women “around a kitchen table” in 2009 — with the inaugural branch opening in Varley the same year — it has since become an expansive network across the State, supporting women in the industry, sharing information and discussing the challenges they face.

Women in Farming president and Boyup Brook farmer Carolyn Reid said the group had always been about promoting women in agriculture and was “moving with the times”.

“This group has given huge validation and recognition to women working in farming,” she said.

“Our point of difference is we work within the community as branches and it’s given reinforcement, validation, acceptance and confidence to farmers within these little communities.”

Mrs Reid said the acronym WIFE could be seen as a barrier for unmarried women wanting to join and the board had discussed options for new names with the organisation’s founders before landing on Women in Farming.

“It’s eliminating any perceptions and embracing the times,” she said.

“The founding women are really happy with it.”

Today, there are also branches in Boyup Brook, Cranbrook, Dryandra, Kojonup, Kulin-Kondinin, Lakes, Ongerup, Wagin and West Arthur, as well as a “Lones” branch for women who do not have access to a local branch, usually due to distance.

This group has given huge validation and recognition to women working in farming.

Carolyn Reid

Women in Farming chief executive Roxanne Morrissey said the name change had “been on the cards for quite some years” and the new name would remove any barriers that people had perceived as being there.

“We’ve always been inclusive — that hasn’t changed,” she said.

“Nothing else has changed in how we operate except the name.”

“What we really wanted to capture was it is about women in farming.”

They debuted the new name at their annual seminar on Wednesday, which brought more than 100 women to Wagin.

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