FOUR years after it was disbanded, a support network for women in rural areas is set to make a comeback.
The state government today announced the Victorian Rural Women’s Network would be re-established on July 1.
The network will promote women’s economic participation, professional development and well-being.
It will also be used to share information about networking events, mentoring and leadership opportunities, and inspiring stories.
There will be an e-newsletter and social media outreach, the state government said.
More than 60 women from rural and regional Victoria were present for the announcement, which was made at Parliament House during the second Women in Agriculture Forum.
The state’s first female Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, delivered the news.
“Women from every walk of life and every corner of our state have told me how important this is,” she said.
“We listened and we’ve delivered.”
Demand for the network’s revival came particularly during the dairy price shocks and droughts of recent years, Ms Pulford said.
The need was further emphasised at the first Victorian Rural Women’s Conference, last year, and was highlighted as part of Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy.
The state government budgeted $1.7 million to support the network.
The Victorian Rural Women’s Network started in 1986, and was credited with raising the profile of women in rural areas and enabling them to connect and share information.
It was disbanded by the then-federal government in 2013.
“The re-establishment of the much loved Rural Women’s Network shows that voices from outside Melbourne truly matter and there is a government that is listening,” Danielle Green, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, said.