3 May 2022. By AgForce General President Georgie Somerset.

Working dad? Learn to relax! Lose yourself in a salad, take a bubble bath or laugh out loud at your favourite fridge magnet.

Have you ever heard such a ludicrous statement?

But try substituting the word “dad” for “mum” – suddenly perception shifts and it doesn’t sound quite so ridiculous.

It’s a sad reflection on society’s gender perceptions - so deeply ingrained that beliefs about gender-specific responsibilities are hard to break down.

People are stuck on traditional ideas that men and women should behave in ways specific to their gender, even though gender-specific identities are irrelevant in modern life and only evolved as a way to organise necessary tasks in early civilisation.

That’s why campaigns that aim to bridge gender disparities are so important – particularly when it comes to the traditionally masculine occupation that is agriculture.

One of my favourite initiatives is the National Farmers’ Federation Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, which provides 12 women a unique one-on-one mentoring opportunity.

The aim is to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030 – a goal industry is well on its way to achieving.

And AgForce is leading the way.

While only 32 per cent of the agriculture workforce are women, women make up more than half (54 per cent) of our staff.

Indeed, our boards and committees include many inspiring, resilient, and innovative women, all working together for the future of the industry – but we can still do more.

Of course, shifting society’s perception of gender is no mean feat, but there is evidence to show it can be done.

Between 1918 and 1940, for example, pink was viewed as a colour for boys and blue a dainty and soft colour best for girls.

Much has changed since then, and much can change again.

As we move towards greater acceptance of women in agricultural leadership, it is critical that we encourage everyone to follow and express their own truth, regardless of gender norms – society will certainly be richer for it.