Six women who came from a variety of backgrounds before marrying and becoming “farmers’ wives” discussed the complexity of their lives and roles working on the land at the Australian National Field Days.
In the Q and A panel ‘I’m Only a Farmer’s Wife’, Sal Morse, Anne Edwards, Pip Smith, Cathie Colless, Kate Gadsby and Bobbie Marriott spoke of the extra roles they do helping their husbands as partners in their agricultural businesses, the physical hands-on work they’ve had to do, raising children and being part of their communities.
Mrs Colless, who is also an author of children’s book Yum yum, where does it come from? and Diamonds in the dust, said they are more than wives and perform a wide variety or roles from looking after the home and farm through to some also having their own employment.
It was just to show the range of jobs women do, not only with farming but in research and promoting agriculture because without agriculture we [haven’t] got anything.Education section director Kerry Wickson
The talk was part of a women in farming feature in the education section, which highlighted women’s participation in agriculture, particularly during World War I and II when men left the land to fight overseas.
Education section director Kerry Wickson said the exhibition was to show the place of women and farming in history.
Mrs Hickson said during the wartime periods, women were trained how to farm in Cowra and between 1942 and 1945 women stepped in to keep food production going.
However, she said when the men did return, the women were sent away, were not recognised for their contribution and were not permitted to join Anzac marches until 1985.
Along with the historical photos and information she said there was also the Hidden Gems, which was information on various women who have contributed to agriculture.
“It was just to show the range of jobs women do, not only with farming but in research and promoting agriculture because without agriculture we [haven’t] got anything,” Mrs Wickson said.
She said the panel of guest speakers also showed the contribution of women to the farm whether working as a partner or even by themselves.
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