Women in Agribusiness forum held in Shepparton

By Alana Christensen

‘‘The world is run by people that turn up.’’

That was the message from VFF Horticulture Group president Emma Germano, as she discussed the role of women in agribusiness.

As a push to get more women into agriculture intensifies, Ms Germano said sometimes the simplest things were the most effective — like just showing up.

Speaking at La Trobe University’s Women in Agribusiness event in Shepparton on Wednesday night, the managing director of I Love Farms said she often didn’t consider the role her gender played in her career when she was younger.

For Ms Germano, who grew up on her family’s farm, the conversation was different and she often did not bat an eye at her mother being labelled ‘‘the farmer’s wife’’.

‘‘There’s a gender pay gap, there’s no question. We’re under-represented, there’s no question. There’s injustices, there’s no question,’’ she told the 60-strong crowd.

However, Ms Germano expressed frustration at the often loaded conversations about gender and said often unconscious bias played a large role.

‘‘To just only focus on gender is just really underdoing the whole thing,’’ she said.

‘‘Some of the men around the table don’t know when they’re challenging us because of gender.’’

Ms Germano said having a good support network could be the key for women who were struggling to be taken seriously or take the next step, with something as simple as a glance from another women in a meeting all that was needed.

‘‘That tiny little bit of support can be enough to do the next thing,’’ Ms Germano said.

‘‘Just turn up, take every challenge, take every opportunity.

‘‘Stop focusing on what’s wrong with you. It’s so easy to discredit yourself ...

‘‘Focus on what you do well and how you can become amazing at those aspects.’’