Local women have their say at Rural Women’s Conference

March 7, 2013

Bingara’s Tiffany Galvin and Warialda’s Rachel Sherman were two of only 25 women across Australia to win scholarships to attend the recent National Rural Women’s Conference in Canberra and joined nearly 400 other women in discussing issues relevant to women in country areas.

Rachel Sherman and Tiffany Galvin.The Gwydir Shire Council sponsored the two women’s attendance and along with Councillor Angela Doering, they represented north west NSW.

[Photo: Rachel Sherman (left) and Tiffany Galvin.]

The two-day conference heard from guest speakers including Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, fashion designer Liz Davenport, Cook Maggie Beer as well as women from across Australia who facilitated workshops on subjects including marketing, health, business development and community sustainability.

Tiffany Galvin thanked the Gwydir Shire Council for the scholarship.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people like Liz Davenport, Elizabeth Broderick, Peter Blasina (The Gadget Guru from Sunrise) and a fantastic experience to have dinner with Maggie Beer and Quentin Bryce at Parliament House,” she said.
“I went to this conference quite blind – not knowing what to expect, but came away with my eyes wide open wanting to help ‘change the world!’

While changing the world might not be possible, I have many ideas to help the community and the conference only confirmed that it only takes one person and one conversation to make a difference.”

“It was great to hear other rural women talk about their issues and what they have done to help resolve them. I had the opportunity to stand up and voice my concerns about health issues in small rural communities, highlighting how hard it can be to access specialist services/treatments in other major towns. I am passionate about nursing – it’s not just a job for me, so this is something I have a big interest in and hold close to my heart,” Tiffany said.

Rachel Sherman said that she was honoured to be chosen to attend the conference and has come back inspired.  “I met some very vibrant, energetic rural women and they have inspired me personally, professionally and also spurred me on to continue work within the community, especially through mentoring other young women,” she said.
“I was inspired by some of the guest speakers, including Liz Davenport, who encouraged us to ‘be bold’.”

Some of the major issues that came to the fore at the conference included food security, the need for country towns and country women to promote their successes better, and for women to be bold and stand up for what they believe in.

Council’s delegate, Cr. Angela Doering, said the conference gave her renewed energy to continue her work in the community.  “The dinner in the Great Hall in Parliament House, with keynote speaker Maggie Beer, who is adored by all and sundry, was special,” Angela said.  “Being a rural woman herself, she understands issues facing rural women.”

Angela was also inspired by Liz Davenport, who talked about her involvement in the ‘Kimberley Girl’ project, which aims to raise self-esteem and self worth to women in the Kimberley. This project has also expanded to the Pilbera region.

“The conference was a great opportunity to network with other rural women, particularly others who are passionate about what they do, whether it be farm, agribusiness and related industry.

“It was an excellent opportunity to have experience outside what we know, I came home much with renewed energy.  The main message I came away with was there are always opportunities in rural Australia,” Angela said.